FRANCE – Danone has announced plans to invest €25 million (US$29.66m) in building a new organic infant milk production facility, which will be located in the Hauts-de-France region of the country, to meet growing demand from French consumers for organic products.

In addition, Danone has announced that it will support 30 to 40 milk producers in the transition to organic.

The company has been expanding its organic milk offerings globally. In 2019, Danone North America launched Horizon Organic Growing Years, a new whole milk created specifically for children aged one to five.

Danone recently introduced an Aptamil Organic range in the UK, which covers ‘all three stages of baby feeding’ and is said to have been certified by an independent organic certification body.

The Aptamil brand is part of Danone’s Specialized Nutrition business. In the company’s third-quarter results, released earlier this week, the unit’s sales fell 5.7% year-on-year with revenues in Europe declining at a mid-single-digit rate.

Danone, founded in Barcelona, Spain in 1919 by Isaac Carasso, and perhaps best known for dominating the yoghurt and dairy food markets in Europe, is better known domestically for its foothold in the infant formula market.

Brands such as Aptamil and Karicare are familiar names to many a Kiwi mum, and the latter brand also has a close historical association with a key New Zealand identity.

Danone announced recently that Karicare will join other Danone brands – such as Horizon Organic, which has also committed to becoming carbon neutral, and Evian and Volvic, which are already carbon neutral, as it moves to becoming a net-zero carbon company by 2050.

Karicare has about 40 per cent market share of the New Zealand infant formula market.

In 2007, Danone acquired infant formula producer Nutricia, which had developed historic successor the Karicare brand in 1996 and went on to take over Sutton Group’s milk powder plant in Clydevale, near Balclutha, in 2014.

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