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December 5, 2019

Danone to use well-known brands to push plant-based dairy alternatives

French consumer goods giant Danone has outlined how it plans to push new plant-based dairy alternative products.

By Leonie Barrie

French dairy giant Danone said it will look to build on the market presence of its better-known brands to push new plant-based dairy alternative products.

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The process began at the end of November when it announced plant-based yogurts are to be sold under the label of Activia, one of its most significant brands.

The Activia 100% Vegetal yogurts, made from soy and oatmeal, are being rolled out in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic and Austria with other markets to follow.

Francisco Camacho, executive vice president for essential dairy and plant-based products at Danone, told just-food that its developments in the area could be expanded into other products.

“We are excited about the potential of the plant-based category and we are positioned very well to capitalise on consumer trends,” he said.

He said the opportunity is there through existing plant-based brands it owns such as Alpro and Silk but also to “offer the consumer some of our other brands”.

Danone bought US dairy and dairy-alternatives business WhiteWave Foods in 2016, a transaction finalised a year later, which gave it the Alpro brand. Reporting its 2018 results in February, the company revealed three-quarters of what was the former WhiteWave portfolio was enjoying sales growth of more than 5%. 

By contrast, the performance of Activia, a brand promoted on its pro-biotic characteristics, was said to be “roughly flat”.

Camacho admitted that plant-based can give Activia a boost as much as the brand can elevate dairy-free products.

“Activia has a broad base of consumers and that strengthens the plant-based universe but at the same time it will evidently strengthen Activia,” he said.

However, without providing figures, he pointed out that Activia is performing better under its own steam anyway.

“Activia is back on track for growth. It’s stronger than it has been for many years,” he said.

He added: “There are several markets where it is performing extremely well and that makes us feel extremely positive about the brand.”

On dairy-alternative products, Camacho said Danone remains confident about continued growth.

“More and more consumers are adopting the flexitarian diet and for a brand like Activia there is a demand for plant-based versions,” he said.

He continued: “The assumption is that household penetration of plant-based yogurt etc will continue to benefit from strong growth.”

Danone announced a plan last year to triple the size of its plant-based business by 2025.

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Innovation Update Q2 2022: Meat and Meat Alternatives

Meat alternatives continue to push boundaries, as companies explore 3D printed, plant-based, and precision fermentation-based alternatives. As a result, shoppers are more open to experimental formulations that introduce new flavors to meat products, blur traditional food categories, or swap in new ingredient types. It is vital for their development that retailers acknowledge this range of emerging trends during these increasingly uncertain times. Brands must continue to understand how consumer needs and desires change, and offer a range of products that reflect the world around them, therefore developing purchasing and consumption decisions. Exciting non-traditional formulations are hitting the market - following the trajectories and target audiences of these launches will help other brands find their niche. Consult our report on Meat and Meat Alternatives, from the collection of >17,000 reports on GlobalData Explorer, to:  
  • Understand the current market dynamics of the Meat and Meat Alternatives Sector
  • Assess strategies implemented by companies to better penetrate the market
  • Understand the key themes in the market that these companies and their respective products appear to be targeting
  • Marketing / Advertising strategies being used by these players for specific products
  • Other segment-specific analysis (packaging, design, flavors etc.)
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by GlobalData
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