Thomas Bell, the son of William Bell, founded a grocery and tea company in Newcastle upon Tyne
. Thomas had experimented with rising agents on flour in baking and from that produced the world's first self-raising flour. He founded the Bells Royal works which sold the Bell's Royal Flour. Following the death of Edward VII
, it became illegal to use the Royal name. Thomas Bell decided to merge Bell and Royal into one name which is where Be-Ro
came from. Thomas Bell started in his own right in small premises in the yard of the Black Boy Hotel adjoining the Groat Market in the centre of Newcastle in about 1875. As well as manufacturing baking powder and self-raising flour he produced a health salt which he discontinued. He also packed and marketed dried fruit, cereals, tea and coffee using such names as T.B. Royalty (later Royty), Black Diamond, and Belsun. He adapted Bell's Royal to BE-RO and registered it under the trade marks act of 1905.
Thomas Bell and Son Limited were incorporated on 10 November. They then moved into larger premises in Low Friar street. In 1911 the company purchased larger premises in Bath Lane. Thomas Bell died in 1925 and was succeeded by his descendents, which continued to expand the company to cover Carlisle and the whole of Co. Durham as well as Teesside. Depots were later built at Leeds, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Birmingham and in 1931 they had decided upon Nottingham as a base to expand into the Midlands. Several dozen more depots were either built, bought or rented throughout England and Scotland.
The company continued its expansion by acquiring McDougall's eventually they were taken over by Rank and became Rank Hovis McDougal, RHM . In 1923 they sold the first of over 40 million copies of the BE-RO recipe book. The recipe book is the best selling recipe book in the world with over 120K books sold per year.
RHM was taken over by Premier Foods in March 2007, making Be-Ro a Premier Foods brand.