Dairy Giant Bel Group Partners With Big Idea Ventures To Support Plant-Based Innovation In Europe

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Collaborating with Big Idea Ventures, Bel Group looks to support the former’s new protein fund that is dedicated to encourage seed and early-stage investments in plant-based and cell-based innovation and companies.

With a target to raise US$50 million since its launch in 2019, Big Idea Ventures (BIV) was looking to receive support from major companies in Europe and with dairy and food snacking company, Bel joining them, the company hopes to open a Paris accelerator this year adding to BIV’s existing four accelerator programs that runs in New York and Singapore every year.

The New Protein Fund aims to invest and accelerate companies in plant-based and cell-based meat, and snacks and the accelerator program will give an opportunity for early-stage companies to build and test their ideas.

Founded in 1865 and based in Suresnes, France, Bel Group has several brands under its name such as BabyBel, The Launching Cow, Boursin and Kirias, and many more with consumers in more than 120 countries. The partnership among the two companies will strengthen the expertise and capacity for accelerating projects and integrating them into the Protein Fund.

Apart from Bel group, Buhler Group has also extended its support to BIV’s protein fund.

In a press release seen by Green Queen, Andrew D. Ive, founder and general managing partner of Big Idea Ventures mentioned that the investment by Bel will be crucial in boosting the growth of the alt protein sector in Europe. “This investment by Bel — based in Paris and a major global player in single-serving healthy snacking — will provide the New Protein Fund with more than additional capital. It is a strategic partnership to continue investing in and supporting the world’s most promising entrepreneurs who are actively creating the future of alternative proteins in Europe and beyond.”

This investment by Bel — based in Paris and a major global player in single serving healthy snacking — will provide the New Protein Fund with more than additional capital. It is a strategic partnership to continue investing in and supporting the world’s most promising entrepreneurs who are actively creating the future of alternative proteins in Europe and beyond

Andrew D. Ive, founder and general managing partner of Big Idea Ventures

Caroline Sorlin, general manager of Bel’s Plant-Based Acceleration Unit explained that it is crucial to support companies in the very beginning for the offerings to become a reality. “By identifying and supporting as early as possible the start-ups and projects involved in inventing tomorrow’s food, Bel is demonstrating its desire to make these solutions a reality and make them accessible to all. This partnership embodies our model: constantly innovating, co-constructing with all those who share our values and vision. Plant-based products now complement our milk-based offer: consumers are more and more looking for a plant-based offer and we aim to provide them with a quality proposition.”

Through this partnership, Bel Group joins Tyson Ventures and Temasek in supporting plant-based companies through accelerator programs.

This partnership embodies our model: constantly innovating, co-constructing with all those who share our values and vision. Plant-based products now complement our milk-based offer: consumers are more and more looking for a plant-based offer and we aim to provide them with a quality proposition

Caroline Sorlin, general manager of Bel’s Plant-Based Acceleration Unit

Bel Group announced last year that it will launch 100% plant-based products within the range of its main brands, including popular Laughing Cow, Babybel and Boursin, as well as under a new international brand that is has not disclosed.

BIV recently announced another fund, the Generation Food Rural Partners (GFRP) fund to support rural communities and boost their economy through food protein innovation.

At the moment, BIV has invested in over 20 companies such as India’s Evo Foods, a Mumbai-based food-tech along with collaborating with Ashika Group, one of India’s leading retail financial services companies to establish a new investment fund and accelerator program that will support India’s alternative protein industry.

A recent survey showed that 70% of western European consumers support a 0% VAT rate on vegetables and fruits and a higher VAT on meat products and these findings are similar to another study showing a growing acceptance of non-meat diets in Germany as well as France, reflecting the growing demand for plant-based food by conscious consumers in the country.

To meet this growing need, Plant & Bean, a British developer and manufacturer of plant-based food products will open the largest plant-based meat production facility in Europe with the plan to set up two more sites in the U.S. and Asia.


Lead image courtesy of BIV.

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