Looking for the best in the industry

Recipients of an award from the Hermann Herzer Foundation have made an excellent contribution to the swiss meat industry. This was the wish of the founder who spent 36 years of his professional life at Bell, serving as Managing Director for many of those years. With his foundation, he is posthumously supporting those who are prepared to do their best.

There's no information available about what motivated Hermann Herzer to become a butcher. Born in 1902 to an affluent industrial family, many doors were open to him after finishing school. As is often the case with successful people, his decision in favour of the meat industry was presumably influenced by the interplay between a special talent and a great passion. By choosing this profession, he also laid the foundation for his career with Bell. After finishing his training and gaining his initial experience in professional life, he joined Bell (already the leading Swiss meat company) in 1925. As he already boasted in-depth experience in the national as well as the international industry – his training took him as far as Chicago in the 1920s – he rapidly ascended the career ladder until he was able to help shape the company's history as Managing Director.

He held this position during the years of economic miracles and the birth of the consumer society. Meat was in ample supply again after the years of privation during the Second World War. The visionary knew how to exploit this upswing. He geared the company to meet the new requirements of the market, including promoting the butcher's craft with much passion. The younger generation was very close to his heart. He wanted to motivate young people to perform better than the average, and tirelessly dedicated himself to helping career starters who wanted to do their absolute best. His ambition for himself and others: to propel the company to the top through personal effort. A goal that still drives Bell and its employees today.

Before his death from heart failure in 1975 at the age of 72, Hermann Herzer bequeathed a large part of his fortune to a foundation to "support and award people who are passionate about working for Bell". To this day, the Hermann Herzer Foundation supports further education and gives out annual awards to professionals in the meat industry in recognition of their excellent performance. Past prize winners have included apprentices as well as managers and training companies, and regularly also Bell employees. The Foundation also gives bursaries for further education in meat sciences and improves the sector's image in Switzerland by supporting research and development projects.

The first prize awarded by the Hermann Herzer Foundation did not go to a Bell employee –  in January 1980, the first award went to the butchers' college of the Association of Swiss Butchers in Spiez, which received CHF 22,000 to buy training equipment. Thus from the outset, the Foundation focused on promoting the whole Swiss meat industry – entirely in keeping with the ideals of its founder who was always passionate about advancing the profession he loved.