22251_Babybel Plant Based Pack visual

Source: Bel UK 

The NPD went on sale in Sainsbury’s on Christmas Eve, and follows the launch of a plant-based Boursin in October

Bel UK’s flagship cheese brand Babybel has followed stablemate Boursin in launching its first ever vegan cheese.

The product was developed in response to “growing public demand” for plant-based cheese alternatives – Bel said, citing research by Upfield in July that showed more than two thirds (68%) of British consumers had considered a transition to a vegan diet.

Made using a Vegan Society-approved blend of coconut oil and starch, Babybel Plant-Based is free from artificial colours and preservatives and a source of calcium and Vitamin B12.

It will go on sale on 1 January in Sainsbury’s (rsp: £2/pack of five), followed by other major retailers in the new year.

With a “timely launch” tapping into the key Veganuary period, Babybel Plant-Based would “unlock incremental sales”, Bel said.

“We’ve seen overwhelming demand for the development of a vegan-friendly Babybel over the years, and with the plant-based market continuing to grow substantially, the new launch is perfectly timed to meet this consumer appetite,” added its brand manager Ollie Richmond.

The NPD is presented in a fully recyclable paper outer bag – with the other elements of the packaging recyclable via Babybel’s TerraCycle scheme. Each vegan cheese serving each is individually wrapped in the brand’s wax shells, this time in a bold green.

It follows the launch by Bel of a vegan version of its soft cheese Boursin in October, with a sunflower oil-based Garlic & Herbs variant. The supplier also unveiled new vegan cheese brand Nurishh in July, which it described as “a versatile selection designed to cater to all occasions”.

Babybel saw value sales fall by 1.6% to £57.7m this year, according to data for The Grocer’s Top Products report [NielsenIQ 52 w/e 11 September].