Innovation at Bel

Bel's Research, Innovation and Development (RID) team creates tomorrow's healthy and responsible food offerings and experiences on the dairy and plant-based markets, by addressing consumer expectations, consumption habits and environmental issues.

Meet the RID team

The Research, Innovation and Development (RID) team is made up of 180 employees with a wide range of expertise and knowledge, located in France, Portugal, Japan and the United States.

Take a look at the different roles within the team …

Development Manager

Developing new recipes, improving the products’ texture, creating new packaging to provide a healthier and more responsible experience in line with consumers’ expectations, are all part of the Development team’s mission.

User Experience and Sensory Manager 

The User Experience & Sensory team is in charge of ensuring consumer experience is properly taken into account throughout the development of a project.

Pilot Trial Manager

With its scientific and technical expertise, the Pilot team ensures that the innovations can be industrialized at every stage of a project.

Innovation, strategy and performance

The Strategic Innovation team works hand-in-hand with our Marketing teams to imagine innovations. It defines the Group’s innovation strategy, ensures developments’ relevance, innovations’ profitability, and products’ acceptability by consumers and distributors.

Packaging Transformation

The Packaging Transformation team works to make our packaging more responsible, by considering consumers’ uses, but also the graphic identities of our brands.

Research

The Research teams support the RID teams by providing them with a strong scientific base in the dairy, plant or packaging fields and by anticipating the innovations of tomorrow

The 5 stages of a product development

Each project of the RID team is designed following five key stages of development. Through the example of the Nurishh Coeur fleuri, discover how our products are conceptualized and developed.

Plant-based & Packaging, our main priorities

The projects carried out by RID aim to meet the Group’s mission – to offer healthier and more responsible food for all – by focusing on two priorities: the development of plant-based products, ranges and the design of responsible packaging.

Plant-based products

We want to contribute to making plant-based food more accessible and want to reach a balance between our dairy and plant-based offers (including fruits).

To do this, we are developing plant-based versions of our emblematic brands and in 2021 we launched our first 100% plant-based brand: Nurishh.

Responsible packaging

The RID teams are working hand-in-hand with the CSR teams to come up with responsible packaging that is made using less raw materials, integrates more recycled or certified materials, and participates in the circular economy through recycling.

With that in mind, we have committed to achieving our goal of 100% recyclage and/or biogradable packaging by 2025.

Imagining tomorrow's food together

To help us find innovative solutions and concepts, we work with universities, start-ups, research centers, SMEs and competitiveness clusters.

These partners provide us their expertise in both the dairy and plant-based sectors and allow us to identify new technologies and/or areas for development.

Our teams are constantly looking for new partnerships to develop responsible packaging and an ever-healthier plant-based offer. To become a partner, you can contact us at: partnering.rid@groupe-bel.com

 

Example of the MetaPath project

“In partnership with Lesaffre, Bel and Toulouse Biotechnology Institute, and via its MetaToul platform, Abolis Biotechnologies launched the MetaPath project to better manage the activity of micro-organisms used in the food fermentation process. By working with multidisciplinary experts new knowledge and skills are developed, new technologies are accessed; and this, in keeping with a “startup” spirit where agility and trust are watchwords.”

Annabelle Fernandez, Bio Engineering Research Engineer for MetaPath project – Bel

To go further...

  • After its first successful test of bulk sales in 6 Day by Day stores in 2020, the Group is repeating the operation a year later by offering Mini Babybel Organic, in bulk, in about 20 stores of a major retail chain. An opportunity to make bulk products accessible to everyone, and to develop more responsible consumption practices. The goal is to offer 100% biodegradable or recyclable packaging by 2025 (compared to 92% today).
  • Partnerships with Terracycle have been established in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, and soon in France and the United States, to encourage the recycling of Mini Babybel packaging.
  • Since the end of 2020, the cellophane that protects Mini Babybel has become compostable.