BEL: an ambitious sustainable growth strategy
Founded in 1865, the Bel group is a major player in healthy dairy and fruit snacking in portions, and has recently expanded its activities to include vegetable products. The family-owned group, whose emblematic brands are known worldwide, is committed to an ambitious strategy of sustainable growth.
With emblematic brands such as The Laughing Cow, Babybel, Kiri, Boursin, Leerdammer, Pom’Potes and Nurishh, Bel’s products are present in 120 countries: “which represents more than 400 million consumers for 20 billion individual portions,” explains Anne Pitkowski, Director of Research & Open Innovation. For over 150 years, the group has been innovating to meet the expectations and needs of its consumers, adapting its products to the times, contexts, eating habits and nutritional needs of populations, while constantly improving its environmental impact.
“The two pillars of Bel are responsibility and profitability,” says Clémence D’Ascanio, Open Innovation Manager. “We are convinced that they are necessary and inseparable to ensure the company’s sustainability. We define our responsibility in five areas: healthy food, sustainable agriculture, responsible packaging, accessible products (everywhere, by everyone) and the fight against climate change.”
A committed group
“In France, we work with our 2,500 partner dairy farmers to reduce the environmental footprint of their farms. This is one of the pillars of the approach we have co-constructed with WWF France, for a sustainable industry” explains Anne Pitkowski. “We are also developing 100% plant-based recipes, as well as hybrid products that combine dairy and plant-based raw materials, in order to satisfy the needs of a growing population and preserve resources. Always with the aim of bringing healthy, sustainable and accessible food to everyone, everywhere.”
The issue of packaging is also a major concern for the company, which has made the single portion its trademark. The single portion has many advantages: it preserves the taste and health qualities of the products, it limits food waste and overconsumption by covering the right nutritional needs and guaranteeing a long shelf life for uneaten portions; sold individually, it becomes accessible to the greatest number of people. “However, packaging remains an area that we are seeking to improve by using new materials and by supporting the development of recycling channels. We are also calling on the cluster’s members, as we are always looking for innovative solutions for more eco-friendly materials,” continues Anne Pitkowski.
“Our goal is to be 100% ready to be recycled and/or biodegradable by 2025,” concludes Clémence D’Ascanio.
Why join the IAR cluster?
The Bel group has been a member of the IAR cluster since September 2020. We are looking for partners to help us achieve the ambitious goals we have set ourselves, particularly in the areas of plant-based products and responsible packaging. We also want to open up further, because we are convinced that collaboration can open up opportunities that we had not identified. For us, as well as for those with whom we collaborate.