What is BELA and what is this delicious brand all about?
BELA Founder: “BELA literally means beautiful and that is what we strive to be in every tin, every day! The design remains groundbreaking and is as modern now as when it was created more than 25 years ago. Likewise, the product inside the can is glistening and tastes of authentic and delicious flavors of the sea!”
How did the BELA brand come about?
BELA Founder: “Oh, that’s a great question! It was started in the mid 1990’s. It was a family business. In Portugal, the factory was built by a very well known individual that credited the health benefits of sardines to saving his life after a heart attack and the many adverse health symptoms that accompany post-mid life. In the US market, it was a mother-son(that’s me) team that developed the strategy, brand development, and launch into the grocery industry that is so prevalent today.”
Do you still own the factory?
BELA Founder: “No, unfortunately during the financial crash of 2008 we had to shutter the factory.”
What was interesting about Tinned fish for you when you started the company and what continues to drive your passion?
BELA Founder: “If you jump into the way-back machine… Tinned fish and coastal commercial fishing were inexplicably linked to a disappearing way of life on a regional and global level. Tinned fish was in massive decline both in sales and quality. There were no standards for sustainability, fair-trade, or labor abuses in the fishing and canning arena. That was, and continues to be a source of inspiration for the brand. While many of the platforms have an initiative now, there remains so much opportunity to be better and do more in every aspect.”
What sets BELA apart from the numerous brands that are available today?
BELA Founder: “Value and consistency. First, we were producers for more than a decade, so we have hands-on knowledge and experience of every step of the process. Second, 25+ years! We have earned the trust of multi-generational support on the raw material side, the production side, and the consumer side. The love and appreciation we receive from people is truly inspiring. Finally, I think about the value we represent. You can find products in the market that cost 2x & 3x more than BELA and the quality will not be as consistently good as BELA. We introduced a gourmet sardine when there were few options available or if any for that matter, and certainly none that were affordable. BELA has continued to improve the category with sustainability, organics, safety, labor, all while keeping the product affordable.”
What is your favorite product?
BELA Founder: “Our mackerel in Organic EVOO with Piri-Piri is rather unique in the US market as it is very Portuguese. Most exported mackerel are in the filet form, but BELA stays true to their roots and includes the skin & bones to promote the health and taste of the product.”
Are there any exciting plans in regards to launching anything new?
BELA Founder: “You will have to stay tuned to find out! However, I am sure TCF will get some of the first items to preview!”
If there is one thing you want the TCF family to know about BELA, what is it?
BELA Founder: “That’s easy…BELA means beautiful. You are beautiful!”
Great, Thank you for your time!
BELA Founder: “The pleasure is all mine. Thank you for allowing BELA to grow with you and reach your family of passionate and interesting family of tinned fish lovers.”
If you're interesting in checking out what BELA has to offer, please check out our website for more information!