Sylvain & Co. puts good food on the plate

Whether preparing the best salads, fruit and vegetables for customers or motivating its own employees – people are always the focal point for Sylvain & Co.  This approach makes the company that was acquired by Eisberg in April 2018 a perfect addition to the Bell Food Group.

Sylvain & CO has a mission: to do everything in its power to ensure people regularly enjoy fresh, high-quality, healthy fruit, vegetables and salads. In pursuit of this goal the Swiss company based in Essert-sous-Champvent has made the consumption of these essential vitamin providers very easy and convenient. Whether ready-made salads, cleaned and cut vegetables or fruit salads with yoghurt and other ingredients – conscious good nutrition is so easy with products from Sylvain & Co.

The grandfather of the current managing director specialised in cultivating vegetables back in the 1940s. The desire for further development was a decisive driving force for him and led to the installation of the first chill room where products could be kept for longer. Carrots and potatoes were packaged in nets for the first time and sold to customers.

Sylvain Agassis took over managing the company around sixty years later. He, too, proved to be a vegetable grower with an innovative approach and brought new impetus to the family-owned business. The modernisation triggered by the then 26-year-old included the construction of a new plant adjacent to the existing building in Essert-sous-Champvent that enabled more industrialised production processes.

Sustainability was also of major importance to Sylvain Agassis from the very start. «I am convinced that a responsible attitude is perfectly compatible with entrepreneurial success», he explains. «Our goal is to harmonise the current needs and eating habits of our customers with a respectful attitude towards nature and humanity.» The company pursues this approach by, for instance, concluding sustainability agreements with its suppliers. Ten years ago it converted its own fields to organic farming, thereby gaining a number of awards including the prestigious Demeter Bio seal.

Young organic lettuce is one of the special highlights of the range. Initially, only the stalks and young leaves are harvested. The rest of the plant is left in the ground to sprout a second time. The company opened up a real niche market by specialising in this cultivation method. The company’s organic baskets («BIO-Körbe»), a subscription service for companies who want to offer their employees the benefits of organically grown, top-quality fruit are also highly successful.

Its highly motivated team of 180 staff is one of the company’s mainstays. After all, production still involves a lot of manual activity despite a high level of automation. «Our company would not exist without the people who make up the ‹& Co›, i.e. our employees», says Sylvain Agassis. They are reliable and loyal to their employer, as is evidenced by employees with many years’ service and the company’s low staff turnover rates.

The acquisition of Sylvain & Co. has gained the Bell Food Group another member company that shares the Group’s values. «Sylvain & Co. and Eisberg are a perfect match. The company brings a lot of experience, innovative ideas and new approaches to our international business», explains Christian Guggisberg, then CEO at Eisberg, and Sylvain Agassis adds: «Being a part of Eisberg and therefore of the international Bell Food Group secures our future and enables us to drive forward our strategy of offering high-quality products and to continue to grow in the process.»