Danone sells US organic salads business Earthbound to Taylor Farms

USA – Danone has announced that it has reached an agreement to sell its US organic salads business Earthbound to California-based Taylor Farms for an undisclosed sum.

The company said the divestment is part of its portfolio management and capital allocation optimization strategy.

Earthbound Farm is said to have registered US$400 million in annual sales in 2018 and is the largest producer of organic salads in the US.

Taylor Fresh Foods is an American-based producer of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, founded by former Fresh Express founder and CEO Bruce Taylor in 1995.

The company said Earthbound Farm will join its Taylor Farms Retail Group and help lead growth in the organic fresh produce category.

“We will build on Earthbound Farm’s tradition of organic authenticity, new variety development and quality focus with expanded regional organic growing and processing capability to better serve Earthbound Farm’s customers and consumers across North America,” said the company in a statement.

“We are grateful for Danone’s stewardship of Earthbound Farm during the past two years and for the opportunity to return ownership of this organic fresh produce leader to local roots and family ownership.”

The company had been owned by WhiteWave Food which acquired it in 2014 for US$600 million.

Danone acquired WhiteWave in 2017 in a US$12.5 billion deal, taking control of leading brands such as Silk, So Delicious, Vega, Alpro, Provamel, Horizon Organic, Wallaby Organic, Earthbound Farm and International Delight.

This expanded the company’s presence in plant-based and organic food products positioned to capitalize on consumer trends towards healthier and more sustainable eating choices.

In October last year, Danone revealed plans to triple the size of its plant-based business by 2025 by combining its position in the dairy industry with the high plant-based growth potential.

The strategy includes growing plant-based sales from €1.7 billion (US$1.91 billion) to around €5 billion (US$5.61 billion).

This year in February, Danone North America opened a new building at its DuBois, Pennsylvania, facility to increase production of its plant-based foods.

The facility will produce Vega yogurt alternatives and nutritional powders, Silk yogurt alternatives, So Delicious Dairy Free yogurt alternatives and dairy-free cheese shreds.

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