The Bell site «Salaison Polette» is a pioneer in France

Salaison Polette in the Auvergne region specialises in air-dried sausages, cold cuts and the packaging of sausages. The company joined the Bell Food Group in 2008 and was the group's first production site in France.

Auvergne is famous for its volcanoes, cheeses and green Puy lentils, but also for its sausages. In 2008, the Bell Food Group decided to invest in this region rich in tradition in order to benefit from its know-how and to gain access to the French market. Salaison Polette et Cie SAS is located at the foothill of the small village of Teilhède. With 174 employees, the company is the largest of Bell Food Group’s six production sites in France.

The main products are salami and dried sausage from Auvergne have been awarded with the Label Rouge and IGP. They represent the top product segment. «We also pro-duce other types of dried sausage, especially for wholesalers», explains Sophie Lucas, Head of Marketing and Sales Promotion. If the stuffing – a step during which the meat is pushed into the casing – is still done manually for the products of the superior range in natural gut, this factory of 11,000 m2 built in 2001 is still at the forefront of technology. The work in the drying rooms is carried out by robots: «This enables us to carry out movements at night and on weekends, which reduces the risk of contamination.» The control and adjustment of temperature and ventilation cycles is also automated.

Another activity is the cutting and packaging of local end products such as Jambon d'Auvergne and international sausages (Jamón Serrano, the air-dried Grisons beef, Coppa ...). «We started up with the first production line in 2003. Business was good, so we invested in a second line. » The work is delicate and contamination can easily occur. Therefore we work in a clean room, a sealed and secured cell, similar to the pharmaceutical industry.

Every week a total of 100 tons of products leave our factory, 22 tons of which are cold cuts. The acquisition in 2008 of this family-owned business founded in 1974 marked the first representation of the Bell Food Group in France. The parent company in Teilhède also has all the support functions for the country: accounting, human resources, supply chain... «The group has gradually invested in France and in our corporate structure. It sent experts to check and optimise the financial situation and to familiarise us with Swiss standards.» How did the transition phase go? «Smoothly. We had to get used to each other's way of working and communicating. Our cultures are different.»

Since March 2018, the whole product range of the six French factories has been produced for the French wholesale trade under the Bell brand. «We were pioneers and were the first outside Switzerland to produce our products under the Bell brand. However, we are still the youngest in the group!»