Bel Group—the multinational firm behind cheese brands Babybel, The Laughing Cow, and Boursin—has teamed up with AI-powered startup Climax Foods to develop plant-based versions of its iconic brands for launch in Europe and the US by the end of 2024, starting with Mini Babybel.
Bel, which has also acquired an equity stake in California-based Climax Foods, aims to co-create plant-based cheeses “indistinguishable from their dairy counterparts” that will be manufactured in Bel factories around the world, chief venture officer Caroline Sorlin told AFN.
The aim is to generate half of Bel’s revenues from plant-based, fruit-based, or animal-free products by 2030, she said. “As a dairy company, we’re making our best efforts to reduce our carbon footprint through regenerative agriculture and other initiatives, but it’s not enough; we need to find other solutions. Right now, as we’ve acquired [fruit puree brand] GoGo squeeZ, we’re at about 80:20 [dairy to non-dairy], but most of that is from fruit, not plant-based cheese.
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