The Bel Group and biotech startup Climax Foods Inc. announced a partnership to create plant-based cheese. 

By leveraging data science and artificial intelligence (AI), the two companies will co-create plant-based portions of Laughing Cow, Kiri, Boursin, Babybel and Nurishh brand foods. 

To support the development, Bel acquired an equity stake in Climax Foods.

"Food is a key lever to address climate change," says Cécile Béliot, CEO of the Bel Group. 

Dr. Oliver Zahn, CEO and founder of Climax Foods Inc., adds, “In addition to changing consumer preferences, climate change requires us to accelerate the evolution of food." 

Climax Foods' predictive analytics and AI enable a level of understanding of animal-based foods at the molecular level. Climax leverages this knowledge to replicate animal-based products with plant-based versions that match their texture, flavor and nutrition density. 

Climax's food scientists have created prototypes with the characteristics of specialty cheeses, including blue, brie, feta and goat varieties. Bel aims to launch the new plant-based products in the U.S. and Europe by the end of 2024. This will contribute to achieving the Bel Group objective to balance its portfolio with 50% dairy products and 50% plant-based/fruits products.