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…
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.
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 !
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!
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.
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.