Artificial active

100% free of artificial colors & flavors achieved: cross-views on a key ambition at Bel

“Defending healthier and responsible food for all is the Bel Group’s mission. With products consumed by more than 400 million people worldwide, the group has a major responsibility to provide safe, nutritious and balanced food.

In line with this goal, it pledged in 2018 to remove all artificial colors and flavors by the end of 2021 from all its flagship brands, such as Apericube, La Vache qui rit, Kiri, Nurishh and Boursin. Goal proudly achieved! Explanations with Mariana Coronel, Chief Global Brands Officer and Caroline Chesneau, Nutrition Director of the Bel Group.

What did it take to achieve the “no artificial colors & flavours” ambition for the Group and the brands?

Caroline Chesneau- We are at a turning point in society, with growing challenges, particularly in terms of the environment and nutrition. A new generation of engaged 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, our entire value chain is mobilized to meet these expectations. We are constantly working hand in hand with the marketing and R&D teams to offer an enriched nutritional profile and simpler lists of ingredients in our recipes. It’s team work!

We are proud to announce that by the end of 2021, 100% of our core brands will be free of artificial colors and flavors

Marianne Coronel- Over the past 3 years, we have worked to continuously build positive brands involving simplifying the ingredient list to more natural recipes, for example:

  • in 2020, we launched a new Kiri recipe in Europe with only dairy ingredients, water, salt and ferments

  • in 2021, we also launched a new Laughing Cow recipe with only 4 ingredients, 100% dairy, which is a revolution for processed cheese

Achieving the commitment of 100% of products from our core brands being free of artificial colors and flavors was a huge step for us! (let’s not forget that for Apéricube, this was already the case since 2020). It took a lot of technical evolutions and a lot of energy to deploy these recipe renovations!

From a nutritional point of view, what is the Group’s roadmap for the years to come?

Caroline Chesneau- Reaching millions of consumers around the world – including a high proportion of children – is a huge responsibility for the Bel Group. This is why we are constantly working to improve the nutritional quality and naturalness of our recipes. For example, we aim for 80% of our portfolio of children and family products to comply with the Bel Nutri+* tool by 2025 (today, 72% of our products comply with this objective). It means:

  • constantly adapt the levels of vitamins and minerals – according to the nutritional situation of our countries of consumption – and also balance the content of salt, fat and protein

  • work with highly qualified experts (nutritionists, sociologists, public health researchers, etc.) to be consistent with our mission.

  • improve the nutritional composition of our products of plant origin, whether they are 100% plant-based or mixtures of dairy products and legumes/vegetables.

  • improve access to nutrition education by implementing our programs in 10 different countries by 2025 – with 7 active programs already in 2021.

How do global brands manage to constantly adapt their recipes to local needs?

Marianne Coronel- It is our responsibility to follow these developments and ensure that we can anticipate and adapt our products to consumer needs and make them accessible to everyone. It takes a lot of agility on the part of our teams to be pioneers and constantly be one step ahead of the competition!

* The Bel Nutri+ tool defines target thresholds for several key nutrients (proteins, lipids, saturated fatty acids, sodium, calcium and added sugars) based on nutritional recommendations and also validated with the contribution of 14 international experts