The perfect match – Hügli in profile

The Hügli Group became part of the Bell Food Group in January 2018. Hügli is an international food producer specialising in the production and sale of soups, sauces, bouillons, condiments, antipasti, desserts and ready-made meals. But who is behind the name Hügli and how did the company come into being?

The Hügli story began in 1935 with the invention of the first industrially produced stock cube named «Brodox». Beat Stoffel, the company’s founder, decided to name the company Hügli in honour of the developer who invented the stock cube, Otto Hügli. This developer went on to become the first managing director of Hügli at its initial base in the Swiss town of Arbon on Lake Constance.

A year later it was clear where Hügli was heading. From then on the company specialised in the production of ready-made soups, sauces, bouillons and condiments. Hügli concentrated product sales on large-scale customers in the catering sector and the food industry. Thus, the company focused from an early stage on two areas of the food industry that today could be referred to as «trendy»: convenience food products and the food service segment. In 1974 the company relocated from Arbon to Steinach, where the headquarters of Hügli Holding AG are still located.

Expansion abroad

The first venture abroad took the form of a Hügli subsidiary that was founded in Hard, Austria, in 1959. Shortly afterwards, in 1964, Hügli acquired the Radolf-Werke production plant in Radolfzell, Germany. Operations in Radolfzell were gradually expanded from 1990 on. Today, the plant has 700 employees and is by far

the largest and most modern production plant of the Hügli Group. It produces mainly dried mixed goods such as soups, sauces and condiments as well as desserts and ready-made meals.

Further expansion followed at an ever faster rate from the year 2000 onwards. Hügli gained access to the eastern European market by acquiring the company Bonita in the Czech Republic. Hügli serves primarily retail and catering customers in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia from its plant in Zasmuky.

Hügli acquired another two production sites in 2005. Inter-Planing GmbH was acquired in Neuburg, Germany. The acquisition of Supro AG in St. Gallen (Switzerland) represented an extension of Hügli’s product range to include liquid sauces and salad dressings. Italian sauce specialist Ali-Big joined the group in 2007 to further expand the range of liquid convenience products for the catering sector and food retailers. The following year saw the acquisition of Contract Foods in Redditch in the United Kingdom.

The food service brand «Familie Vogeley» became part of the Hügli family in 2013. EDEN and granoVita, two well-established brands with more than 100 years of expertise in healthy nutrition, joined the group two years later This added to Hügli’s production sites: a distribution plant in Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom and a production site in the Spanish town of La Vall d’Uixó. The Hügli Group acquired the majority shareholding in Dutch company Bresc B.V. in 2016.

Experts in customised food products

Today, Hügli operates throughout Europe with around 1,500 employees at 15 production sites.. They produce around 60,000 tonnes of high-quality food every year. Hügli achieved a turnover of CHF 384 million in 2017.7.

The corporate divisions of the Hügli Group are strategically aligned with the specific requirements of its customers. The Food Service Division serves the eating out market, while the Customer Solutions Division is responsible for the food retail trade, brand owners and manufacturers of food products. The Food Ingredients Division is the contact partner for food industry corporations. The Consumer Brands Division supplies Hügli’s proprietary organic brands to health food stores, organic markets and food retailers.

Hügli is characterised in particular by its cuisine, creativity and speed. The company sees cuisine as passionate dedication to food - from the selection of ingredients to recipe development to creative serving suggestions.  Creativity is the basis of innovation. This applies both to product development and marketing. Its corporate structure enables Hügli to react swiftly and flexibly to customers’ needs and wishes.