Last week, Danone (the parent company for Dannon and QA's May/June 2014 Cover Profile) announced its acquisition of WhiteWave Foods. The transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the year, provides Danone with WhiteWave's portfolio of high-growth, on-trend food and beverage categories which focus on premium organic dairy, non-gmo, plant-based alternatives to milk & yogurt, fresh foods, and coffee creamers in North America and Europe. WhiteWave’s business includes brands such as Silk, So Delicious, Vega, Alpro, Provamel, Horizon Organic, Wallaby Organic, Earthbound Farm and International Delight. Danone expects the merger to "create a truly unique global leader committed to addressing tomorrow’s consumer trends by providing healthy and sustainable eating and drinking options."
As Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber stated, “At Danone, we constantly seek to align our vision of the world, our mission and our businesses: we believe we have a special responsibility, as expressed in our Manifesto, to help and support people in adopting healthier and more sustainable eating and drinking practices and constantly evolve our portfolio of brands and products to achieve this objective. To that extent, we found in WhiteWave the perfect alliance as we both believe in a healthier future and are conscious of our power to lead society forward." It positions the company to better "address tomorrow’s consumer trends and represents a great opportunity to step change the ambition of our plan for an Alimentation revolution and to accelerate our path towards strong sustainable and profitable growth by 2020," he added.
Gregg Engles, WhiteWave Chairman and Chief Executive Officer noted the announcement as "an exciting next chapter for WhiteWave, bringing together two leading companies with a shared mission of changing the way the world eats for the better. … Danone is a unique company with distinctive capabilities that will enable WhiteWave to reach its next phase of growth.
Danone notes strategic and financial benefits of the acquisition to be the creation of a leader strongly aligned with consumer trends for healthier and sustainable eating and drinking options, including WhiteWave's organic foods and beverages and non-GMO plant-based alternatives to milk and yogurt. It will also build a stronger North America platform for Danone which further diversifies its portfolio and broadens its presence in North America and creating a "leading U.S. refrigerated dairy player, as well as one of the top 15 largest U.S. Food and Beverage manufacturers." With the transaction, Danone’s North America footprint would increase from 12% to 22% of its total portfolio.