Danone backs US meal-delivery firm Splendid Spoon, closes Ukrainian factory as war intensifies 

US – French multinational food corporation Danone has invested in US meal-delivery firm Splendid Spoon in a Series B funding round led by Sweden-based investment firm Nicoya. 

Danone made its investment through the Danone Manifesto Ventures VC-style arm the Activia maker set up in 2016. 

 Other investors in Splendid Spoon included Ashok and Meera Vasudevan, the founders of US ethnic-cuisine business Tasty Bite, which they sold to Mars in 2017. 

Founded in 2013, the New York-based startup focuses on ready-made plant-based soups, bowls and smoothies. 

The startup revealed that it had raised US$12m in the round but declined to comment on the amount of money it had attracted since it was founded. 

Splendid Spoon, which also refused to be drawn on its annual sales and earnings, said the funds would be used to “scale” its “core product line”, launch more items and hire staff. 

In a statement, Danone said: “Since its creation in 2016, Danone Manifesto Ventures’ mission has been to invest in disruptive food and food-tech companies which invent new brands, categories and business models aligned with Danone’s mission. 

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 With its focus on plant-based diet and a direct-to-consumer delivery model, Splendid Spoon is a great fit.” 

Through Danone Manifesto Ventures, the company has so far backed more than a dozen firms, ranging from US vending-machine business Farmer’s Fridge to Drums Food International, the India-based Greek-style yogurt supplier. 

Danone closes Ukraine factory 

Danone has also revealed it has shut one of its two manufacturing facilities in Ukraine to limit exposure of its staff to the current war between Russian and Ukrainian armies. 

Danone has two factories in Ukraine, both in central Ukraine – one in Dnipro and another 100 miles further north in Kremenchuk. 

A Danone spokesperson could not confirm at the time of writing which of the two plants had been closed but revealed that local teams are closely monitoring the situation. 

 “We are putting in place all the relevant actions to ensure the safety of our employees, as well as business continuity,” the Danone Spokesperson said. 

The company is yet to make a pronouncement on its Russia operations which represents approximately 5% of its 2021 revenues.  

Danone has 18 factories in the country and is one of the largest multinational food manufacturers with local production in Russia.  

The spokesperson refused to be drawn on the possible effects of Western sanctions on the Russian economy. “I’m afraid it’s too early to share anything further,” he said. 

Elsewhere in Ukraine, fellow French dairy major Lactalis – the world’s biggest dairy business – confirmed today it has stopped production at one of its three factories in the country. 

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