Leading French cheese producer Fromageries Bel is eyeing India as a launchpad for its Asian expansion. Bel already partners with a number of companies in India which make cheese for the French company under licence. Bel’s infamous Vache qui rit (Laughing Cow) proceesed cheese triangles have already made inroads in Delhi and Mumbai, and are much loved by western travellers holidaying or on business in India.

Bel plans to offer technical support to its contract manufacturers in India and, once the brand has reached critical mass, plans to set up a 100%-owned subsidiary.

Local partners are stepping up the pace of development with the upcoming launch of two other Bel cheese varieties, Kiri and Babybel. Kiri is a cream cheese, while Babybel is an individually wrapped semi-hard cheese already enormously popular with children in Europe. In India too, children are the target market.

Bel markets more than 400 cheese brands in Europe, although many of these will be unsuitable for Asia due to their strong taste and difficulty in storage.

As western tastes begin to infiltrate eastern markets, just as oriental flavours are gaining in popularity in the west, so western manufacturers are gearing themselves to tap this new market. On the cheese front, Bel will encounter competition from local giants Amul and Britannia, as well as a rumoured market entry from Swiss giant Nestlé. Bel#;s compatriot Bongrain is already present in India with its Le Bon cheese brand.

Fromageries Bel hopes to use India as “a manufacturing hub for 100% vegetarian cheese which will also cater to Japan, Vietnam, the Middle East, Bangladesh and Pakistan,” reported the Economic Times of India.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

The 2000-2005 World Outlook for Processed Cheese

The 2000-2005 World Outlook for Soft Cheese