Our approach to Nutrition
As a major player in the food processing industry, the Bel Group has always offered products with good nutritional qualities and encourages consumers to adopt good eating habits.
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400 million smiles around the world
Bel's primary responsibility is to ensure the quality, safety and traceability of its cheese from before production to the end consumer, everywhere in the world. Every stage in the products' life cycle is subject to rigorous controls to ensure optimum quality for consumers. All of Bel's 27 production sites throughout the world incorporate the food safety and quality requirements defined by the Group and work to internationally recognised standards (ISO 9001 – FSSC 22 000 – BRC – IFS).
Developing the nutritional composition of products, a bespoke approach
Consumers, as well as public authorities or the medical establishment, expect foodstuffs to make a valuable nutritional contribution and contribute to a balanced diet. The recipes for Bel's cheeses change to meet the nutritional requirements of consumers whilst maintaining the pleasure, the taste and the smile that they provide.
To optimise the nutritional quality of its products, the Group works on the composition of its cheeses, particularly regarding three key nutrients for public health challenges in all of the geographical zones concerned: calcium, lipids and sodium.
By taking into account the nutritional needs of each population, Bel has defined threshold levels for the composition and target values for each of these nutrients. This approach is put into practice using a nutritional optimisation tool and has led the Group to innovate with the products consumed by families with real nutritional benefits as a priority. The populations in the countries where Bel products are marketed have different nutritional needs. For example in the USA, The laughing cow® light accounts for 90% of the brand's sales; in Africa and the Middle East, products are enriched in vitamins D and B12.
Increasing the natural aspect of our products
Bel includes additives that perform specific functions into the formulation of our products: increasing the shelf life, allowing for manufacturing procedures, obtaining the sensual qualities desired by consumers (colour, texture, taste, etc.). All of these additives meet with regulatory requirements. However, consumers increasingly want products without additives. Bel is therefore working on reducing the number of additives in the composition of its cheeses—beginning with the core brands—provided that this does not impact food safety or the organoleptic appreciation of products by consumers.
Offering consumers easy access to nutritional information
Access to nutritional information is a key element in allowing consumers and professionals in the healthcare, childcare and catering sectors, to create balanced menus. Throughout the world, Bel brands provide information on their packaging and websites but also often provide a specific customer service to answer questions about nutrition. The nutritional composition of Bel products will be more and more detailed and increasingly accessible, particularly via new communication technologies: websites, smartphone applications, etc.
Combining expertise to eat better
In order to identify the key nutritional challenges in the different areas where its products are consumed, Bel calls upon an international network of experts in nutrition (food sociologists, child health nutritionists, etc.). The Group also works alongside state authorities and partners such as GAIN (The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition). In-house, a specific team defines the Group's nutritional strategy and implements it through a network of 27 local operators.