Even though many of his peers have been slow to enter the segment, Bill Graham said there’s good reason why Bel Group is making a big bet on plant-based cheese.

Bel Group, started in France in 1865, is known for its distinctive snacking cheeses, including The Laughing Cow wedges, wax-coated Babybel rounds and Boursin spreads. Last March, the company took a majority stake in French plant-based company All in Foods, which makes vegan cheese alternatives in Europe. In October, Bel pledged to create one plant-based variety of each of its signature brands and launched its first offering: Boursin Dairy-Free Cheese Spread Alternative Garlic & Herbs. In January, it launched Laughing Cow Blends wedges, which mix the company’s signature dairy-based cheese with chickpea, lentil or red bean proteins.

Graham, the CEO of the company’s U.S. division Bel Brands USA, said the reason for such a big strategic turn in strategy is simple.

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