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Bel and Climax Foods Partner to Enhance Plant Based Cheese with AI

Founded in 1865, Bel is a fifth-generation, family-owned dairy cheese manufacturer, and it recognizes that it must limit its environmental impact to survive for the next 150 years.

Aiming to become less reliant on carbon-intensive animal agriculture, Bel is working on improving the sustainability of its dairy cheeses while also improving its vegan cheeses. In addition, plant-based recipes must become zero-compromise.

This is why this leader and major global food player, Bel, and biotech start-up Climax Foods have joined forces to create a range of plant-based cheeses addressing the demands of the transition to a more sustainable food industry. By combining their knowledge, data science, and AI capabilities, they will make Laughing Cow®, Kiri®, Boursin®, Babybel®, and Nurishh® brand foods with the same level of nutrition, taste and affordable price as dairy alternatives but with a lower carbon footprint. To ensure success, Bel has taken an equity stake in Climax Foods.

"Food is a key lever to address climate change, and we, at Bel, have a strong determination to explore new territories and develop innovative solutions that will define the future of food, for all," comments Cécile Béliot, CEO of the Bel Group. "The products we will develop in partnership with Climax have the potential to make a big difference: they can meet the three-fold challenge of sustainable, nutritious, and accessible. This collaboration epitomizes our co-innovation strategy by combining their distinctive technological data science and AI platforms and expertise with Bel's pioneering and historical knowledge."

Dr. Oliver Zahn, CEO and founder of Climax Foods Inc., adds, "AI and data can be game changers in food in terms of delivering optimal taste and texture while at the same time making it affordable and sustainable. Evolving recipes over time is what we've been doing for hundreds of years. In addition to changing consumer preferences, climate change requires us to accelerate the evolution of food. Together with Bel, we can make a significant positive impact so that people and the planet are better off."

As food is an essential lever for reducing human impact on the environment, Bel and Climax are joining forces to explore the possibilities the plant world offers as it holds tremendous promise for sustainable food production.

Climax Foods' predictive analytics and AI capabilities enable a thorough comprehension of animal-based foods at the molecular level. This understanding then replicates these items with plant-based versions that maintain the same texture, flavor, and nutritional density. Also, with the help of AI-steered product creation, Climax Foods significantly shortens the time frame needed to create recipes utilizing more options from the extensive plant kingdom. In contrast, traditional development would require billions of years.

Bel and Climax Foods' collaboration uses AI and data to revolutionize how they scale up quickly and efficiently. Climax Food's team of food scientists has already proved their worth by making prototypes that copy characteristics of specialty cheeses such as blue, brie, feta, and goat varieties. Bel is targeting a date at the end of 2024 to launch these new plant-based items across both U.S. and Europe - an endeavor meant to help the company hit its aim of having a portfolio balanced equally between dairy products and plant-based/fruit items.

Bel brings together world-class knowledge and innovative abilities in dairy cheese, as well as non-dairy alternatives, coupled with an effective route to market that will make these new types of cheese accessible to everyone via their favorite and influential brands. As part of the Bel Group's leading tactic, this partnership is intended to marry the best components of both plant and animal food sources, thus helping to create a sustainable food system capable of sustaining the 10 billion people expected by 2050 with limited ecological harm.


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