Hot on the heels of its launch at Sainsbury's this January, we review the new vegan Babybel cheese to see whether it delivers the same nostalgic taste as the lunchbox classic...
Growing up with a dietician for a mother, my school lunchbox was often filled with a weird and wonderful assortment of healthy foods.
So, it was something of a celebration when I opened up my Barbie lunchbox (yes, the one with the holographic mirror!) to find a Babybel nestled in amongst the packs of nuts and sliced apples.
I used to love unwrapping the signature red wax seal, which naturally I would spend the rest of the afternoon playing with under my desk and biting into the soft wheel of cheese.
For those of you who don’t know, Babybel is essentially a mini wheel of Edam cheese, so it’s creamy, salty, and ever-so-slightly tangy.
It has been some 20 years since I last enjoyed Babybel (am I showing my age?!), so I was genuinely thrilled to hear that Bel Group were releasing a vegan version in the UK.
Available at Sainsbury’s supermarket now priced at £2, Plant-Based Babybel is made from coconut oil and fortified with B12 and calcium.
Moreover, the nostalgic signature red wax cheese has had a green makeover and promises to deliver the same smooth and creamy taste.
But how does it measure up to the original? Read on to find out whether this childhood treat delivers the same nostalgic taste as the lunchbox classic…
The new Vegan Trademark-approved Plant-Based Babybel are wrapped in a vegan-friendly, recyclable green wax.
Vegan Babybel review
On first impressions, you’d find it difficult to tell the difference between Plant-Based Babybel and the original were it not for its bright green wax coating.
Peeling back the wax strip, you’re greeted with a strong, cheesy scent that immediately makes your mouth water.
Admittedly, when I first heard that they were going to be made with coconut oil I was a little nervous as I often find the coconut taste overpowering.
Thankfully, Bel Group has done a great job at masking this with a punchy flavour that is shockingly like Edam! Some people may find otherwise, but I personally couldn’t detect the coconut at all.
Taking a bit, the first thing I noticed with the beautiful saltiness of the cheese. It’s super tangy and slightly sharp but is balanced with a creaminess that is the flavour that ultimately lingers on the palate.
My husband is notoriously picky when it comes to vegan cheese, but even he declared them to be “spot on”.
Unlike many vegan cheese products which often have a smooth, rubbery texture, the texture is incredibly similar to the classic Babybel.
Because Baby is a somewhat rubbery cheese anyway, it lends itself well to a vegan version I feel.
In fact, I think you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two looking at the texture alone.
They’re perfectly soft and have the same mouthfeel and melt in your mouth without leaving your teeth feeling coated in oil.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the bag they come in is made entirely from paper and the wax is 100% recyclable too.
Furthermore, the individual cheeses in the pack are wrapped in cellulose film made from wood pulp and are certified home compostable.
Conscious that there are limited collection facilities in the UK for compostable material, Bel Group has partnered with TerraCycle to offer another way to dispose of this packaging.
Many companies producing vegan products often package their products in plastic, so it’s encouraging to see a company that understands the importance of being eco-conscious too.
With their creamy taste and perfect texture, I think this is one of the most successful vegan cheese makeovers yet!
Plus, it’s fantastic to have this new dairy-free option for the next generation to enjoy in their lunchboxes.
I like to think that kids will be the envy of their friends with their special green Babybels, sparking a new interest in vegan options in the younger generation.
I know that vegan Babybel will certainly now be a staple in my house!
We think this might just be the best Veganuary ever for new vegan product launches!
Don’t miss a single one with our guide to what’s new for Veganuary 2022.