Meet Scott Sechler, owner of Bell & Evans
As a young boy on his parents’ farm in Pennsylvania, Scott Sechler helped his dad raise chickens to sell to local restaurants. But as a self-described “opposite kinda person,” he always pestered his dad about his decisions when it came to caring for the chickens.
“I used to question everything,” says Scott, who today owns and operates the premium poultry company, Bell & Evans. Why, he wondered, were healthy chickens given antibiotics? What was in the chicken feed and was it really healthy for the chickens?
“My dad said, ‘Who can afford to grow chickens the way you want to grow them?’” Scott says. “But if my dad said ‘black’ I said ‘white,’ so I went on a mission to prove you could raise chickens another way.”
And prove it he did. Today, Bell & Evans chickens are raised without antibiotics and in accordance with the Bell & Evans Humane Animal Welfare Standard. One-hundred percent of their chicken is 100-percent air chilled, which sets them apart from producers that use chlorinated-water chilling. Nothing is ever added or injected into Bell & Evans fresh chicken and all Bell & Evans chicken is free of nitrates and nitrites, MSG and MSG-like products, and phosphates and phosphorus. Even Bell & Evans breaded items are phosphate-free (most other breaded items on the market contain phosphates).
Quality & Animal Welfare Above All Else
When Scott bought the Bell & Evans brand in 1986, it was already well-established as a premium poultry company with stringent quality standards. Over time, he pushed those high standards even higher, introducing improved disinfecting and cleaning processes to the chicken houses; raising all birds without antibiotics; introducing innovative, freezer-safe recyclable packaging that’s made with recyclable materials; and setting the highest standards for animal welfare.
In 2009, the Pennsylvania-based company launched its first line of certified USDA-organic chickens. Then in 2017, it opened the world’s first organic-certified, animal-welfare-focused chicken hatchery. “We buy organic grain directly from farmers in the US, while many of our competitors are buying imports,” says Scott. “And 100 percent of our chicks start on organic grains. We try to make our products special for consumers.”
Even Bell & Evans specialty products, like chicken nuggets, are totally different from other chicken nuggets on the market. “Our chicken nuggets are made of chicken breasts that are cut into pieces, with natural coating and breading — and our expeller-pressed organic oil makes them really special.”
Bell & Evans’ commitment to quality is part of what makes them such a valued partner for us at Lunds & Byerlys. They also take pride in being a family-owned company, just like we do.
A Family Affair
The earliest records for Bell & Evans date back to 1894, when Howard H. Bell joined with Carlton Evans to promote premium fresh poultry at markets.
Ninety years later, Scott bought the company and today he runs it with his two children, Margo and Scott Jr. “We’re a growing family business,” he says. Scott Jr. is Bell & Evans’ Executive Vice President and Vice Chairman of the Board, and Margo is Bell & Evans’ Executive Vice President. She’s in charge of live operations, including the hatchery and feed-mill management, and she shares her father’s commitment to animal welfare.
Being family-owned is a core value for Bell & Evans — and for the companies it does business with. “We pick model retailers and vendors, so our feed milling, and everyone we buy from, is a family-owned business,” says Scott. “Lunds & Byerlys is our exclusive, fresh chicken retailer in Minnesota. We like to work with family-owned businesses.”
Scott is proud of the partnership with L&B and he sees a promising future for two companies that are equally committed to quality. “We’re thrilled to be associated with Lunds & Byerlys,” he says. “I hope it’s forever.”