International food giant Danone announced it is seeking to expand its plant-based category in Europe and increase plant-based sales worldwide from around €2 billion in 2019 to around €5 billion by 2025.
The food producer has launched its new largest business unit devoted to the growth of plant-based products - Essential Dairy and Plant-Based (EDP) North America.
Danone's Plant-based Acceleration Unit will look to expand the company into new categories, such as coffee, baby food and healthy ageing solutions and to pivot more of its large brands into the plant-based sector.
Danone has confirmed that the Plant-based Acceleration Unit will now “be recognised as a separate business”.
“The strategy to deliver on the €5bn ambition will continue to rely for one-third on growing the core business (in the US and Europe) and for two-thirds on expansion in new geographies and new categories,” a spokesperson told FoodNavigator.
“Today, Danone has built a material Plant-Based business in the US and some European countries such as Germany, the UK, Benelux or France. Beyond, we are looking at either further expanding or seeding the Plant-Based category; this includes Southern and Eastern Europe, Russia, but also, although we are still early stage, Latin America or Africa.”
Danone has been investing in plant-based companies for several years. In 2016, it acquired WhiteWave Foods—the owner of vegan brands Silk, So Delicious, Vega, and Alpro for $12.5 billion. Since then, Danone has bought and developed other vegan brands including Good Plants (part of its Light & Fit brand) and Oikos - a coconut-based yoghurt brand.
In April, Danone invested $10 million into Laird Superfoods, a plant-based creamer brand founded by professional vegan surfer Laird Hamilton.
Earlier this year, Danone credited plant-based brands Silk and Alpro for a 4.6 per cent increase in its net sales.
The corporation has also appointed the former Coca-Cola executive, Shane Grant, as a new CEO and executive vice president of Danone North America. Shane Grant worked in The Coca-Cola Company for nearly 20 years, where he held various leadership roles in marketing, commercial and general management.
“I am grateful to our global and North American EDP teams for the great work achieved over the last three years in integrating WhiteWave and our dairy business in the USA and Canada,” Danone Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber said.