The brand intends to enter the market with the objective of “creating a business of around 200 million in turnover”.
The French group Bel, parent company of The Laughing Cow, announced on Tuesday that it has teamed up with the Indian Britannia to convert this market of 1.4 billion inhabitants to cheese. “We set out to conquer India“, summarized with AFP Cécile Béliot, general manager of Bel, which also owns Babybel and Boursin cheeses. The group born in the Jura in 1865 and which generated nearly 3.4 billion euros in turnover last year, is creating a joint venture with Britannia to tackle the market “nascentcheese in the South Asian giant, according to Cécile Béliot.
Bel «brings the brand, the know-how of the cheese. Britannia brings local consumer understanding and market power with an unparalleled distribution network in India“, explained Cécile Béliot. With over €1.5 billion in annual sales, Britannia is India’s largest biscuit maker. The company also produces sandwich breads, rusks and dairy products, including cheese slices for sandwiches. This cheese activity joins the joint venture which will also manufacture Laughing Cow from 2024 in a new factory, within the Britannia industrial site, located in the state of Maharashtra (west).
«No taste barrier»
«We want to be the one who will have created the cheese category in India, to be one of the pioneers, while returning to local customssums up Cécile Béliot. The Laughing Cow, which can be stored at room temperature, will be sold in its traditional triangular format but also presented in blocks for cooking and in 15-gram sachets. This version, more liquid, similar to a sachet of sauce, will also be more economical, at 10 rupees each (12 euro cents). It is intended to be spread out without utensils and to be found in the lunch boxes of Indian schoolchildren, inside the “small sandwiches prepared by their mother“. In France, Indian restaurateurs are slipping La Vache qui rit into naans (kinds of bread) with cheese, a specialty that is not common in India.
«Indian restaurateurs were accustomed to this innovation which stuck well to the palate of the French. We are going to do the opposite: put The Laughing Cow in the Indian breads“Smiles the boss of Bel. The group, which tests its products in the country “and fashion startupsince 2018, believes that “Indians like the taste of The Laughing Cow. There is no obstacle from a taste point of view, just to anchor it in consumption habits“. The strategy is different in China, where the group recently acquired 70% of Shandong Junjun Cheese. “The Chinese don’t like the taste of cheeseand are instead offered sweet cheeses, flavored like yogurts.