The French group Bel, parent company of The Laughing Cow, announced on Tuesday that it has partnered with the Indian company Britannia Industries Ltd to convert this market of 1.4 billion inhabitants to cheese.

"We are working to conquer India," summarized Cécile Béliot, general manager of Bel, which also owns Babybel and Boursin cheeses.

The food group, which generated nearly 3.4 billion euros in turnover in 2021, is creating a joint venture with Britannia to tackle the “nascent” cheese market in India.

Britannia holds 51% and Bel 49% of the joint venture, called Britannia Bel Foods Private Limited.

It will market all of its cheeses under the La Vache qui rit brand.

Investing in the Indian cheese market

Bel "brings the brand, the know-how of the cheese", explained Cécile Béliot.

“Britannia brings its local consumer understanding and market power with an unparalleled distribution network in India.

Britannia is India's largest biscuit manufacturer.

It also produces sandwich breads, rusks and dairy products, including slices of cheese for sandwiches.

This cheese activity joins the joint venture which will also produce, from 2024, The Laughing Cow in a new factory within the Britannia industrial site in western India.

Bel is spending "several tens of millions of euros" in the operation with a view to "creating a business of around 200 million in turnover", indicated the general manager.

Introducing Indians to Cheese Naans

The Laughing Cow, which can be stored at room temperature, will be sold in its traditional triangular format as well as in blocks for cooking and in 15 g sachets.

This more liquid version will also be more economical, at 10 rupees each (12 euro cents).

It is intended to be spread out without utensils and to end up in the lunch boxes of Indian schoolchildren.

In France, Indian restaurateurs slip La Vache qui rit into cheese naans, a specialty that is not common in India.

“Indian restaurateurs are used to this innovation, which fitted well with the palates of the French,” explains Cécile Béliot.

“We are going to do the opposite: put The Laughing Cow in the Indian breads.


Bel has been testing its products in India since 2018. According to the group, "Indians love the taste of The Laughing Cow" and no taste barrier should hinder its development in the country.

The strategy is different in China, where the group recently acquired 70% of Shandong Junjun Cheese.

The Chinese are instead offered sweet cheeses, flavored like yogurts.


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