« Championing healthier and responsible food for all » is the mission of the Bel Group. With products consumed by more than 400 million people around the world, the group has a major responsibility to provide safe, nutritious and balanced food.
Aligned with this objective, it committed, in 2018, to remove all artificial colors and flavors by the end of 2021 in all its core brands, such as Apericube, The Laughing Cow, Kiri, Nurishh and Boursin. Target proudly reached! Explanations with Mariana Coronel, Chief Global Brands Officer and Caroline Chesneau, Nutrition Director at Bel Group.
What did it take to reach the “no artificial colors & flavors” ambition for the Group and the brands?
Caroline Chesneau – We are at a turning point in society, with fast-growing challenges, particularly in terms of environment and nutrition. A new and engaged generation of consumers is emerging with new growing expectations: while taste remains predominant in their decision-making, they also want to know what they are buying and eating. We have moved from the question of ‘what’ to ‘how’.
At Bel, it is our entire chain of value that is mobilized to meet these expectations. We are constantly working hand in hand with marketing and RID teams, to provide an enhanced nutritional profile and simpler ingredients lists in our recipes. It’s a team work!
We are proud to announce that by the end of 2021, 100% of our core brands are free from artificial colors and flavors
Mariana Coronel – Throughout the past 3 years, we’ve been working at continuously building positive brands involving simplification of ingredients list to move to more natural recipes, for ex:
- in 2020 we launched a new recipe for Kiri in Europe with only diary ingredients, water, salt and ferments
- in 2021, we also launched a new recipe for The Laughing Cow with only 4 ingredients, 100% dairy, which stands as a revolution for a processed cheese
Reaching the commitment of 100% of our core brands products with no artificial colors and flavors was a huge step further for us! (let’s not forget that for Apéricube, it was already the case since 2020).It took a lot of technical changes and good energy to roll out these recipes renovations!
From a nutrition perspective, what’s the Group’s roadmap for the upcoming years?
Caroline Chesneau – Reaching millions of consumers worldwide – with a high proportion of children – is a huge responsibility for Bel Group. That’s why we constantly work on improving the nutritional quality and naturalness of our recipes. For ex, we’re aiming to have 80% of our children and family products portfolio compliant with the Bel Nutri+ tool*, by 2025 (Today, 72% of our products are compliant with this objective). This means:
- adapting continuously the levels of vitamins and minerals – depending on the nutritional situation in our consumers’ countries – and also balance the content of salt, fat and proteins
- working with highly qualified experts (nutritionists, sociologists, public health researchers, etc.) to be consistent with our mission.
- improving the nutritional composition of our plant-based products, either 100% plant-based or mixes of dairy and pules/vegetables.
- improving access to education to nutrition through implementing our programs in 10 different countries by 2025 – with already 7 active programs in 2021.
How do global brands manage to constantly adapt their recipes to local needs?
Mariana Coronel – It’s part of our responsibility to monitor these changes and make sure we can anticipate and adapt our products to consumers needs, and making them accessible to all. It requires a lot of agility from our teams to be pioneers and be constantly one step ahead vs competition!
* Bel Nutri+ tool defines target thresholds for several key nutrients (proteins, fat, saturated fatty acids, sodium, calcium and added sugars) based on nutritional recommendations and also validated with inputs from 14 international experts