Bel Group, maker of Babybel, The Laughing Cow and Boursin snacking cheeses, has teamed with Standing Ovation on a line of cheeses made with casein milk protein.

“Diversification of quality protein resources is essential to feed a growing population, projected to reach 10 billion by 2050,” according to Bel Group. “Faced with this reality, and firmly committed to offering healthier and more responsible food for all, Bel Group is investing in development of proteins for the future, in addition to developing high-quality dairy products, fruit products, and plant-based offerings.”

Standing Ovation has developed an innovative precision fermentation process that produces caseins of non-animal origin, according to Bel Group. These proteins are identical to those naturally present in milk, and provide all the nutritional qualities, functionality, and traditional good taste of cheese. Standing Ovation’s casein protein also paves the way for products with a lower environmental impact and greater accessibility.

Bel and Standing Ovation’s scientific teams will work together at Bel’s R&D center in Vendôme, France, and at Standing Ovation’s facility in Paris, on the application of Standing Ovation’s technology to selected Bel products, according to Bel Group. As part of the collaboration, Standing Ovation will bring its ability to produce casein by fermentation and Bel will bring its unique cheese-making expertise and ability to integrate innovation into its products and processes.

 “I am delighted with this exclusive partnership which perfectly illustrates how our Group is committed to FoodTech for the future of food,” said Caroline Sorlin, Bel Group’s chief venture officer. “It also demonstrates the confidence that innovative start-ups like Standing Ovation have in us to transform the food model. Combining the knowledge and skills of such a start-up and a Group like ours guarantees that we will be able to offer products that will meet consumers’ expectations tomorrow.”

Caseins are essential to the quality of cheeses – they are nutritious and provide firmness, texture, and the capacity to melt, added Anne Pitkowski, Bel Group’s research and application director.

“Standing Ovation’s technology combined with our knowledge of the links between structure and function will enable all these features – and more – to be developed. Our unique cheese-making expertise will put these advances into practice. This partnership opens many possibilities for imagining tomorrow’s cheese recipes and products, combining nutritional quality, accessibility, and responsibility.”