Babybel is one of the most popular snack-sized cheese products.
However, many wonder if eating a Babybel is the same as “real cheese.”
Does it contain the same ingredients as other cheese, without unnecessary additives?
This article examines Babybel cheese, its characteristics and nutritional values, and its positive and negative points.
Table of contents
What Is Babybel Cheese?
Babybel is a cheese product that comes in 21-gram snack-sized portions. A French company called ‘Le Groupe Bel’ produces it (1).
The above image shows how the product looks.
The cheese comes in the shape of a tiny wheel, and the original variety of Babybel is packaged in a red wax coating. Babybel is available in ‘Grab & Go’ single packs and multipacks containing six or twelve individually wrapped portions.
Over recent years, more varieties of Babybel have hit the market in various flavors and using different base cheeses. Each one attempts to differentiate itself via the varying color of its wax coating.
Generally speaking, Babybel appears to position itself as a family snack in the same way as other cheese products like string cheese and American cheese slices.
It is possible to buy Babybel in most grocery stores.
As previously mentioned, many people wonder if eating a Babybel is the same nutritionally as eating a basic Cheddar or Edam.
To directly answer this question: yes.
The original variety of Babybel is just a tiny, conveniently-packaged serving of Edam cheese.
We can find the following ingredients in the original Babybel (2):
- Pasteurized cultured milk
- Microbial enzymes
Is Babybel Real Cheese?
Babybel contains the same ingredients as any other plain cheese: milk, salt, and microbial enzymes (a starter culture for fermentation).
Furthermore, there are no preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, or other additives.
In other words, Babybel is 100% cheese and as “real” as any other traditional cheese.
What Nutrients Does Babybel Provide?
According to the USDA’s nutrition entry for Babybel Original, a 21-gram individual serving has the following basic nutritional values (2, 3):
|Name||Amount||% Daily Value (% DV)|
|Carbohydrates||0 g||0% DV|
|Fat||6.01 g||7.7% DV|
|Saturated||3.99 g||20.0% DV|
|Protein||5.0 g||10.0% DV|
On the negative side, neither the USDA nor the manufacturer provides data on the complete vitamin and mineral content of Babybel.
However, since Babybel Original is just Edam cheese, we can calculate the approximate vitamin and mineral content in one Babybel using the USDA nutritional data for Edam.
Thus, based on the nutrient profile of 21 grams of Edam, a 21-gram Babybel Original should provide good levels of the following vitamin and minerals (3, 4).
- Vitamin B12: 0.32 mcg (13% of the daily value)
- Calcium: 153.3 mg (12% DV)
- Phosphorus: 112.6 mg (9% DV)
- Sodium: 204.3 mg (9% DV)
- Selenium: 3.05 mcg (6% DV)
How Do the Different Varieties of Babybel Compare?
As previously mentioned, there are several different varieties of Babybel.
According to data released from Babybel, the table below shows the characteristics and nutritional values for each variety of single-serving 21-gram Babybel (2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10):
|Variety||Cheese Type||Calories||Carbohydrates||Fat||Saturated Fat||Protein||Cholesterol||Sodium|
|Original (red)||Edam||70 kcal||0g||6.01g||3.99g||5.0g||20 mg||160 mg|
|Light (blue)||Edam, low-fat||50 kcal||0 g||3.0g||2.0g||6.0g||10 mg||160 mg|
|White Cheddar (black)||Cheddar||70 kcal||0g||6.0g||4.0g||4.0g||15 mg||135 mg|
|Gouda (orange)||Gouda||70 kcal||0g||6.0g||4.0g||5.0g||15 mg||160 mg|
|Mozzarella (green)||Mozzarella||50 kcal||0g||3.5g||2.5g||6.0g||10 mg||160 mg|
|Sharp Original (purple)||Edam||60 kcal||0g||5.0g||3.0g||4.0g||15 mg||140 mg|
|Plant-based (dark green)||Made with water, food starch, coconut oil, salt, flavors, and colors||50 kcal||4.0g||3.5g||3.0g||0g||0 mg||150 mg|
Benefits and Downsides of Babybel
As shown in the nutritional data, Babybel is just as nutritious as any other type of cheese.
From here, the next question should be whether it is worthy of a place in the diet.
To help answer that, let’s look at some of the benefits and downsides of Babybel.
- Offers a good source of protein, calcium, and phosphorus. As part of a good overall dietary pattern, this protein, calcium, and phosphorus content can help contribute to muscle growth and bone health (11, 12).
- It comes ready-wrapped in convenient single-serve portions, making it an excellent addition to lunch boxes.
- It is real cheese and can be bought in as little quantity as one single-serving portion.
- Children enjoy the bright colors of Babybel, and unwrapping the wax coating can be a fun experience.
- Gram for gram, the cost of Babybel works out much higher than buying a regular block of cheese. If looking for the most affordable cheese, alternative options offer better value. Edam and provolone have a similar texture and mild flavor and are available at cheaper prices gram-for-gram.
- Like all cheese, Babybel is unsuitable for people with milk or dairy allergies (13).
Common Questions About Babybel
Babybel Original has a calorie content of 70 calories, while the light variety contains 50 calories. Depending on the specific variety of Babybel, the caloric content ranges between 50 and 70 calories.
The ‘original’ and ‘light’ varieties of Babybel are made with Edam cheese. However, numerous other color-coded varieties have come onto the market in recent years.
Yes, Babybel is produced using pasteurized cultured milk.
Yes, Babybel is a processed product, but this is no different from any other cheese. All cheese is ‘processed’ from the original ingredients of milk, salt, and microbial enzymes (starter culture). However, it is worth noting that Babybel contains no colors, flavors, or other additives.
Babybel is a nutritious cheese product that provides a good range of essential nutrients.
Like most cheese, it also tastes great and can be a fun little snack for families and younger children.
If these qualities tick your cheese requirements, then Babybel is a great choice.
On the other hand, a large block of cheese would be the better option if looking for the best-value cheese product.
When reading about a particular product online, it is often easy to wonder whether the content has been affected by some form of sponsorship. This website wishes to confirm that it does not accept any incentive (whether financial or otherwise) to cover a product or a particular topic. Opinions expressed in this article on Babybel are solely the author’s opinion.