Bel Brands featured in Food Dive Magazine article highlighting Dairy Companies Entering the Plant-based sector

Plant-based cheese is full of startups. Will dairy providers get into the segment?

New players and brands are bringing growth and innovation to the sector, while most traditional companies are hanging back. Are they missing opportunity, or is it not worth their effort?

Even though many of his peers have been slow to enter the segment, Bill Graham said there’s good reason why Bel Group is making a big bet on plant-based cheese.

Bel Group, started in France in 1865, is known for its distinctive snacking cheeses, including The Laughing Cow wedges, wax-coated Babybel rounds and Boursin spreads. Last March, the company took a majority stake in French plant-based company All in Foods, which makes vegan cheese alternatives in Europe. In October, Bel pledged to create one plant-based variety of each of its signature brands and launched its first offering: Boursin Dairy-Free Cheese Spread Alternative Garlic & Herbs. In January, it launched Laughing Cow Blends wedges, which mix the company’s signature dairy-based cheese with chickpea, lentil or red bean proteins.

Graham, the CEO of the company’s U.S. division Bel Brands USA, said the reason for such a big strategic turn in strategy is simple.

“We at Bel see this as a massive opportunity,” Graham said. “…We believe that this category has the potential to reach over $1 billion by the end of 2025, give or take. And we also believe that we are uniquely positioned to bring value and address some of the unmet needs in the category from a consumer perspective. We believe we’re in a good position to help our customers build out this category. It’s not a trend that we’re following, per se. It really is an intentional part of our business model and our strategy.”