Embark upon an adventure that began in 1932…
The history of Conserverie la belle-iloise is, first and foremost, the saga of the Hilliet family. The sea has been the setting for this story for several generations.
It All Began With a Visionary Founder

Georges Hilliet, the son of a rowboat fisherman, founded Conserverie la belle-iloise in 1932 just off the fishing port of Quiberon. This direct access to the sea made it possible to capture the quality of freshly caught fish…

Quiberon - Sardine fishing boats at anchor in Port-Maria
The Turning Point for Conserverie la belle-iloise…

Mass distribution emerged in the 1960s, changing the rules of the game. As the first superstores opened in France, canneries progressively converted their production techniques to cut costs and respond to the market pressure. Georges could not bring himself to perform a technical transformation that would compromise his values and the flavour of his sardines. He therefore made the choice to pursue quality.

quote_leftI’ll take my basket and sell my sardines at the beach if it comes to that !quote_right
Georges Hilliet
Founder
The Choice of Independence, in the Name of Quality

Once he had made the decision to turn his back on mass distribution, Georges opened his first direct point of sales in Quiberon, as part of the cannery, in 1967. This was the beginning of what would become a second line of work for the company: that of distributor. Direct, continual contact with customers became an additional advantage !

1967 - The first direct point of sale located within the factory founded in 1932. The racks located behind the counter were regularly stocked for customers.
1968 - Conserverie la belle-iloise created Sardine Cream with Whisky, the first in its line of gourmet spreads.
Like Father, Like Sons: the Distribution Develops…
Georges had three sons and two daughters. He passed along his passion for the seaside and the Cannery to his children… In 1972, forty years after the Cannery was founded, two of his sons Georges Jr. and Bernard Hilliet took over the company.
That year, Georges Jr. and Bernard opened a second store in Carnac… This first step beyond the Quiberon Peninsula was the beginning of an exploration of the Great West! Ten years later, in 1982, motivated by the demands of customers far from the shore, the Cannery sent its first mail-order consignment. This was a mail-order turning point for the company!
The success of direct sales at factory outlet prices, both at stores and through the catalogue, transformed the company’s organisation. In 1993, the Cannery relocated to a new production site, up to European standards: one that was larger and more modern, but still located in Quiberon.
Bernard Hilliet: A New Dimension for the Cannery

In 1996, Bernard Hilliet took the helm to pursue the adventure as the head of Conserverie la belle-iloise. For 15 years, Bernard developed and professionalised the network of stores. As of 2011, the Cannery was present along the entire French coast, from Touquet to Menton, and was opening its 50th store in Hyères.

Creativity and Quality!

The company continues to innovate with the development of new, ever-more-subtle, ever-more-gourmet recipes based on its unique expertise.

It reinvents the classics and creates new ranges, such as morsels (of tuna, mackerel and sardines), sandwich spreads and salads… All presented in the colourful, illustrated packages that are the true trademark of the Cannery!

The Third Generation, Combining Innovation with a Bold Approach

In 2011, after working for five years with her father, Caroline Hilliet Le Branchu took the helm of the family company and pursued the same course.

In 2012, the Cannery opened its first inland store, in Nantes. Based on this success, points of sale in Paris, Lyon, Marseille and others were to follow. That same year, the Cannery pushed back its frontiers and set up shop in Belgium.

New Challenges!

In 2016, the Cannery set itself a new challenge: to offer surprising gourmet dishes prepared using the Cannery’s fish products, combined with fresh, carefully selected produce. 

The Cannery thus opened the Gourmet Bistro-Store-Workshops, a unique place at the very heart of Nantes. Close to the famous Pommeraye Passage, this dining establishment offering in the same space of quality snacks on site at lunch time, the sale of the Cannery's products and kitchen workshops.

In 2018, the adventure continued, this time in the form of a fast food restaurant on Rue Montorgueil in Paris, with the creation of a SARDINE BAR, a new takeaway concept.

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