The Laughing Cow Cheese Nose Ring & Earrings Explored

The Laughing Cow Cheese Nose Ring & Earrings Explored

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Many years ago, when I traveled in Vietnam, and there were few Western products, the French brand of Laughing Cow Cheese was one of the few cheeses we could get for our morning bread and breakfast. Since that time, I have been a fan of this cheese.  

The Laughing Cow Cheese and how the nose ring and earrings came about is an exciting story. The nose ring could be from local European husbandry practices of cows having a nose ring; on the other hand, the earrings were added way back in the early 1920s at the suggestion of the wife of the Laughing Cow Cheese owner to give the cow a more feminine look.  

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The Laughing Cow®: A Century Of Cheese Delight

The story of The Laughing Cow® is a captivating tale that spans over a century, filled with passion, innovation, and remarkable growth. It all began in 1865 in the picturesque town of Orgelet, nestled in the Jura region of the French Alps. 

This region was renowned for the exceptional quality of its milk and cheese, providing the perfect backdrop for Jules Bel to establish his artisanal cheese dairy. Specializing in Emmental and Gruyere, Jules Bel’s Dairy quickly gained recognition for its commitment to quality and craftsmanship.

Expansion And Relocation For Laughing Cow Cheese

Thirty years later, in 1898, Jules Bel’s sons, Henri and Léon, inherited the family business. Recognizing the potential for growth and the need for a more strategic location, the brothers boldly decided to relocate the cheese dairy factory to the bustling town of Lons-Le-Saunier. This move was driven by several factors, including the presence of a salt company and the town’s well-connected railway network.

The availability of a local salt supplier was a critical consideration, as salt is an essential ingredient in cheese production. By being near a reliable salt source, the Bel family could ensure their cheeses’ consistent quality and flavor. 

The efficient railway system also provided convenient transportation options, allowing their products to reach a wider audience within France and beyond.

The Birth Of A Symbol For the Laughing Cow Cheese

In 1914, during World War I, Léon Bel was assigned to the logistics corps of the army. As soldiers began drawing humorous symbols on supply vehicles to identify various units, the commanding officer sought an illustration for his unit, the RVF (which stood for “fresh meat supply”). 

Benjamin Rabier, a renowned illustrator, was approached to create a symbol and sketched the image of a laughing cow (in French: “La vache qui rit”). 

One soldier, inspired by Wagner’s opera “Walküre,” playfully nicknamed it “La Wachkyrie,” which sounded similar to “La Walkyrie” and added a comical twist. This illustration and nickname would later inspire Léon Bel when he created The Laughing Cow brand.

The Creation Of Processed Cheese And The Laughing Cow Cheese

In 1921, shortly after the war, Léon Bel crossed paths with the Graf family, who had imported a new product from Switzerland into France during the conflict: processed cheese. Recognizing the potential of this innovative creation, Léon, a visionary entrepreneur, joined forces with Émile Graf to revolutionize the factory processes and develop a unique recipe for their cheese brand.

Their collaboration led to the birth of The Laughing Cow® in 1921, marking a significant milestone in the brand’s history. The introduction of processed cheese, with its smooth texture and rich flavor, gave consumers a new and convenient way to enjoy cheese. 

Léon Bel’s keen understanding of evolving consumer preferences and his willingness to embrace innovation allowed The Laughing Cow® to carve its niche in the cheese market and become a worldwide sensation – so much so that even all those years ago when Vietnam was cut off from the rest of the world and there were few western products the Laughing Cow Cheese was a brand that could be found in Vietnam.  

Listen To Our Podcast About The Cheesy Chic: Unraveling The Laughing Cow Cheese’s Nose Ring & Earrings Story below or by clicking here.

The Evolution Of The Logo Of The Laughing Cow Cheese

In 1923, Léon Bel updated the brand’s logo, seeking a more refined and memorable image. Benjamin Rabier, once again entrusted with the task, provided a new illustration centered on a close-up of the cow’s head. 

The printer Vercasson brought the illustration to life, adding the iconic red color synonymous with The Laughing Cow®.

Legend has it that Léon Bel’s wife played a significant role in the logo’s final touches. She suggested the addition of earrings to give the cow a more feminine and playful look. It could be she was thinking of female consumers purchasing the cheese for their families.  

Embracing her suggestion, Léon Bel incorporated earrings into the cow’s image, which added a charming and distinctive element to the logo. This transformation further enhanced the brand’s identity and contributed to its enduring recognition.

The cow’s nose ring, an intriguing feature of the logo, is often a subject of curiosity. While there isn’t an official explanation for its presence, some theories suggest that it may symbolize the cow’s connection to the agricultural world or be a nod to traditional livestock husbandry practices. 

Regardless of its origin, the nose ring adds an element of intrigue to the logo, contributing to its overall visual appeal.

Modernization And Expansion Of The Laughing Cow Cheese

In 1924, just three years after The Laughing Cow® cheese production began, Léon Bel made significant investments to modernize his facilities. State-of-the-art equipment was introduced, revolutionizing the manufacturing process and increasing productivity while ensuring improved working conditions for the employees. 

This commitment to progress allowed for efficient cheese production and positioned The Laughing Cow® as an industry leader.

As the brand continued to gain popularity, Léon Bel recognized the need for a larger production facility to meet the growing demand. In 1926, a new and modern plant was constructed in Lons-Le-Saunier, further enhancing the company’s capabilities. 

The soft and creamy texture of The Laughing Cow® cheese and its irresistible taste garnered increasing admiration.

With the brand’s success in Europe, expansion plans were set in motion. Branches were opened throughout the continent, propelling The Laughing Cow® to establish its presence worldwide swiftly. 

This beloved triangular cheese is available in over 120 countries, with approximately 10 million portions sold daily. The Laughing Cow® has rightfully earned its place as the fourth-largest processed cheese brand globally.

A Range Of Delicious Offerings And The Laughing Cow Cheese

Over the years, The Laughing Cow® has expanded its product range to cater to diverse consumer preferences. In addition to the original recipe, the brand now offers various delectable options. 

The Laughing Cow Light appeals to health-conscious individuals, providing a lighter alternative without compromising taste. For those seeking a touch of spice, Jalapeño-flavored cheese delivers a zesty kick. Smoked cheese offers a unique and savory twist, while Garlic and Fine Herbs provide a burst of aromatic flavors. Furthermore, lactose-free options ensure everyone can enjoy the delectable goodness of The Laughing Cow® cheeses.

From its humble beginnings in France, The Laughing Cow® cheese has transcended boundaries and become a globally adored brand. The Bel family’s unwavering dedication, visionary approach, and commitment to quality and innovation have propelled The Laughing Cow® to heights. 

As the brand continues to expand its product range and captivate new markets, it remains an enduring symbol of joy, convenience, and love for delicious cheese.  

Disclaimer: The Laughing Cow® cheese is a globally registered brand, and the information is provided solely for informational purposes.

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