Babybel Introduces First New Cheese In Nine Years: Monterey Jack

It has been nine years since Babybel debuted a new cheese, but the brand — which specializes in individually wrapped snack cheeses — has certainly been busy. Back in the 1970s, the French-owned Bel Group, which has been making cheeses in France's Jura region for more than 150 years, decided to expand operations to America, and began making cheeses for three brands, including Babybel, in Kentucky. Since 2016, however, the demand for Babybel has resulted in new production facilities in South Dakota, as well as further expansion into Canada. Plans for a new plant in Quebec were announced in 2018.

The increased demand for Babybel cheeses – the new South Dakota plant, for example, churns out over 1.5 million Mini Babybel products daily — may have something to do with their lack of artificial flavors or preservatives. The brand's Mini Babybel cheeses are all-natural, with no growth hormones or color dyes. Consumer demand, or at least consumer preference, is also driving the brand's introduction of Mini Babybel Monterey Jack cheese — its first new cheese in nine years — as well as the reformulation of one flavor in its existing line of cheeses, Babybel recently announced via press release.

Mozzarella cheese has been reformulated for the Mini Babybel line

Babybel's consumer research was aimed at finding cheeses that appealed to families. For instance, the new Mini Babybel Monterey Jack was conclusively shown in consumer testing to appeal to both adults (90% indicated they'd buy it) and kids (80% said they'd eat it), according to the brand's recent press release. The widespread approval ratings may have had something to do with the creamy mouthfeel and mild flavor of the new cheese, which was only released after almost 15 months of research and development.

The brand also announced that it has reformulated its Mini Babybel Mozzarella cheese, giving it the same milder and creamier taste treatment that appealed to both adutls and kids in consumer testing for its Monterey Jack release. Both cheeses, Mini Babybel Monterey Jack and Mozzarella, are all-natural, "real cheese" in the company's parlance. The latter also received some kid-friendly labeling in the form of mascots, dubbed MozzaMonsters, which have been added to packaging for the product.

The two cheeses, as well as other Mini Babybel cheese flavors such as cheddar and gouda, are now being sold at supermarkets throughout the U.S., including at Albertsons and Walmart stores. The cheeses are sold in packs of 12 for a suggested price of $7.99, per Babybel.