Bel Group Will Bring Precision Fermentation to Laughing Cow, Babybel, and Boursin

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Following its investment in Standing Ovation earlier this year, the Bel Group says it has entered into an exclusive partnership with the dairy producer to bring precision fermentation into its catalog of products.

The Bel Group, whose brands include Babybel, Laughing Cow, and Boursin, recently launched vegan versions of several of its cheese offerings. And it looks to be that more is on the way with the new partnership. The announcement follows Standing Ovation’s recent €12 million Series A funding round, which closed in September.

Microbial fermentation cheese

France-based Standing Ovation produces dairy cases through microbial fermentation, eliminating the need for dairy cows. The process delivers dairy casein with the same taste and texture but with a significantly lower carbon footprint.

“We have developed a unique process to produce non-animal caseins,” Frédéric Pâques and Romain Chayot, respectively President and Scientific Director, co-founders of Standing Ovation, said in a joint statement.

“Our ambition today is to see the first products arrive on the market quickly, with a very wide distribution. We are proud to partner with Bel Group to accelerate the deployment of these alternative proteins, whose market is growing exponentially, and where we want to play a key role. We look forward to working with a Group with proven cheese expertise, iconic brands and a collaboration model that is ideal for start-ups.”

Imagining tomorrow’s cheese recipes

The companies are expected to work together on the development of new products featuring Standing Ovation’s casein. Bel Group’s R&D center is located in Vendôme, France, and Standing Ovation’s facility is in Paris. The groups say Standing Ovation’s ability to produce casein by fermentation and Bel’s unique cheese-making expertise allow for easy integration and innovation of products and processes.

“Caseins are essential to the quality of cheeses—they are nutritious and provide firmness, texture, and the capacity to melt,” Anne Pitkowski, Bel Group Research and Application Director, said in a statement.

Standing Ovation dairy
Standing Ovation dairy | Courtesy

“Standing Ovation’s technology combined with our knowledge of the links between structure and function will enable all these features—and more—to be developed. Our unique cheese-making expertise will put these advances into practice. This partnership opens many possibilities for imagining tomorrow’s cheese recipes and products, combining nutritional quality, accessibility, and responsibility.”

Precision fermentation is making its way to the French cheese market; newcomer Nutropy recently raised €2 million in a pre-seed funding round for its fermentation-based cheese.

Lead image courtesy of Green Queen.


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