Swiss food producer Bell Food Group has announced that it has seen a substantial improvement in performance in the first half of its financial year, with all business divisions contributing to its growth.
According to chief executive Lorenz Wyss, the "strong core business with meat and meat products in the Swiss retail market" was the main driver of this positive performance.
He added, "Our broadly supported business model also proved to be very robust during the coronavirus pandemic. The present half-year results are very encouraging and confirm that we are on the right track with our strategic thrusts."
The company's adjusted sales revenue saw a 2.7% growth to CHF2.1 billion, while EBIT increased by 10.5 % to CHF65.7 million.
The adjusted half-year profit amounted to CHF51.0 million, up 46.1% year-on-year, supported by the higher added value created by changes to the mix of customers and product ranges and positive foreign currency performance posted by the Bell Food Group.
Bell Switzerland continued to grow its business in the first six months as its retail wing did exceptionally well in the first four months before the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
Bell International also continued its positive development supported by the performance of its poultry business in Austria and Germany and the Serrano ham and diced ham business.
The company's convenience arm recovered from the setback suffered last year. The fresh convenience segment showed clear signs of recovery with the reopening of the foodservice sector and growing mobility since May 2021.
Elsewhere, its plant-based meat alternatives business registered strong growth in Switzerland and Germany in the first half of 2021.
The company expanded its The Green Mountain range to include sausages and plant-based steaks in Switzerland. In September, a new product group will be added to the range in the form of vegan chicken breast fillets.
In March of this year, Bell Food Group announced that its Hilcona subsidiary is to take over Aryzta's Switzerland-based sandwich business, on 1 August.
The Bell Food Group expects the trend towards normalisation in the coronavirus pandemic that emerged in the second quarter of 2021 to continue.
According to Wyss, this means a shift from retail towards food services and industry again on the part of customers and product ranges.
He expects Swiss shopping tourism to increase again to pre-pandemic levels in the second half of the year, with food service and fresh convenience segments as the primary beneficiaries of the reopening of the economy.
"In this context, the business area Bell Switzerland will be unable to continue its current exceedingly strong performance," Wyss noted.
Bell International is expected to continue its positive development in the second half of 2021, provided that procurement prices for raw and other materials return to normal levels.
The company is optimistic about its convenience segment as the imminent opening measures will boost its performance.