Bel Brands USA, the North American arm of French dairy giant Bel Group, has introduced the company’s first exclusively vegan cheese line. Launching in April, Nurishh will offer a range of cheese alternatives such as cheddar and mozzarella, a move made in response to rising mainstream demand for plant-based alternatives. It comes shortly after Bel Group revealed it plans to develop vegan versions of all its iconic brands, among them Babybel and The Laughing Cow.
Nurishh will become dairy corporation Bel’s first-ever wholly plant-based cheese brand, launching at select retailers and via e-commerce on Amazon from this April onwards. Certified 100% plant-based and lactose-free, the products are available in six varieties in total, including vegan cheddar, mozzarella and provolone slices, and cheddar, shredded mozzarella and a mixed cheddar and mozzarella blend coming in a shredded format.
Made with a base of coconut oil, the cheeses are fortified with vitamin B12, is a source of calcium and contains no artificial flavours or colours. According to Bel, the range boasts a “genuine cheesy taste” and replicates the meltability of its conventional dairy counterpart.
Commenting on the launch, Florian Decaux, plant-based acceleration director for Bel, said: “Food plays a big role in cultivating happy and healthy moments, because the simple act of sharing a meal holds the power of bringing families together. Nurishh can help you create dishes that bring everyone to the table – like a perfectly melted grilled cheese or a delicious cheesy pizza.”
The move comes after Paris-headquartered Bel Group announced plans to roll out plant-based versions of all its iconic brands, including Babybel, Boursin and The Laughing Cow, with flexitarians as its main target market.
Nurishh marks its first dedicated plant-based venture to date, signalling that major food companies like Bel – whose reach spans 400 million consumers globally – can no longer afford to ignore the major dairy-free shift accelerated by the coronavirus.
While the entire plant-based market is set to explode, industry experts predict that vegan cheese will be one of the fastest-growing segments in the next few years. Recent data puts the current global vegan cheese market at US$2.7 billion, but estimates the figure will double to over US$4.5 billion by as soon as 2025.
Nurishh can help you create dishes that bring everyone to the table – like a perfectly melted grilled cheese or a delicious cheesy pizza.Florian Decaux, Director of Plant-Based Acceleration, Bel
A number of other big food conglomerates have taken to the business opportunity, with Danone expanding its subsidiary So Delicious’ plant-based cheese range earlier in January, revamping its “shreds” recipe and introducing slices and cream cheese spreads.
In a recent interview, Unilever CEO Alan Jope described the vegan trend as “inexorable” in “every single country”, reiterating the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate’s plant-forward strategy in the coming months to roll out plant-based versions of all its classic products.
All images courtesy of Bel Brands USA.