Danone acquires majority stake in Harmless Harvest to accelerate growth of its plant-based business

USA – French dairy company Danone has through its venture arm Danone Manifesto Ventures (DMV) purchased a majority stake in Harmless Harvest to accelerate the growth of its plant-based business.  

Harmless Harvest offers a range of organic coconut-based products, including coconut water, snack drinks, and yogurt alternatives. 

The company is Fair for Life Certified and is said to be committed to sustainable agriculture through its Regenerative Coconuts Agriculture Project. 

According to a statement from Danone, its new acquisition expects to generate more than US$100 million in sales in 2021, doubling its revenue from 2017. 

The deal marks the first US majority acquisition for Danone’s venture arm. California-based Harmless Harvest will continue to operate “with a level of autonomy that preserves its entrepreneurial culture”. 

DMV previously led a US$30 million funding round in the brand and will continue to provide Harmless Harvest with financial, strategic and operational support following this latest investment. 

The acquisition of the Harmless Harvest stake is expected to support Danone’s efforts to accelerate the growth of its plant-based business, which the company hopes will reach €5 billion in global sales by 2025. 

Additionally, Harmless Harvest has a lot of attributes that Danone itself has been adopting, making the integration process evcen easier.  

For instance, Harmless Harvest’s use of coconuts complements Danone’s push to increase its plant-based focus following its 2017 purchase of WhiteWave. 

Harmless Harvest’s fair for life certification also blends in well with Danone’s operations as the company itself achieved B Corp certification, which is given to companies “using business as a force for good through their commitment to social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.” 

Moreover, having invested in the company previously means that the management teams of each side has had time to interact with each other, easing the transition process.   

“It has been a privilege to be part of the Harmless Harvest success story over the past few years, as the company has continued to grow, innovate and pioneer more responsible business practices,” said Laurent Marcel, CEO of Danone Manifesto Ventures. 

“We are thrilled to further the partnership with a group of people who aim to be harmless to the planet and society and share our vision of a healthy and sustainable food system.” 

DMV also says that the transaction will provide Harmless Harvest with additional resources and operational capabilities to support its growth and sustainability initiatives. 

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