PARIS and LOS ANGELES — Leading global food and beverage company Danone and Earth Island®, maker of Follow Your Heart brands and a pioneering leader in plant-based foods, today announced that they have entered into a share purchase agreement under which Danone will acquire 100% of the shares of Earth Island®. With a proven track record of growth and innovation, and a long-term commitment to nutrition, sustainability and environmental stewardship, Earth Island® represents a strong cultural fit with Danone and provides Danone with a unique opportunity to strengthen its plant-based business.
Founded in 1988 to meet the growing demand for Vegenaise at the Follow Your Heart Market & Café, Earth Island® is a pioneer in the U.S. plant-based marketplace with a leading dairy-free cheese brand—offering shredded and sliced plant-based cheese, grated and shredded plant-based parmesan and cream cheese alternatives—and the most iconic egg-free mayonnaise brand, Vegenaise. The company also produces delicious plant-based sour cream, salad dressings, and VeganEgg® within their Follow Your Heart portfolio. As part of the Danone family, Earth Island® will be able to accelerate the growth of the Follow Your Heart brand nationally and internationally alongside some of Danone’s best-known plant-based brands, including Alpro, Silk and So Delicious Dairy Free.
“Our mission has always been to produce the best plant-based food products and to make them available to as many people as possible,” said Bob Goldberg, co-founder and CEO of Earth Island®. “We’re very pleased to be joining the Danone family of plant-based companies in a collective effort to bring positive change in the world through the creation of sustainably and responsibly-made foods.”
As a global and U.S. leader in plant-based food and beverages, Danone is committed to bringing innovative, delicious plant-based offerings to consumers, in an unmatched variety of formats, for every moment throughout the day, lifestyle and need. In the U.S., plant-based food and beverages are a $5 billion category1, and plant-based cheese is one of the fastest growing segments within it. This partnership will enable Danone to enhance and expand its plant-based offerings to provide consumers with plant-based alternatives for even more occasions throughout their day, while also contributing to its goal of increasing plant-based sales worldwide from more than €2 billion in 2020 to €5 billion by 2025.
“We are delighted to welcome Follow Your Heart’s team to our amazing team at Danone,” said Shane Grant, EVP and CEO, Danone North America. “The Follow Your Heart family shares our commitment to producing high-quality products that delight consumers while contributing to the wellbeing of People and Planet. Consumers are increasingly eating flexitarian diets, and we look forward to working with the Follow Your Heart team to offer our consumers even more choices. This partnership will build on our success in plant-based beverages, yogurt alternatives and creamers, further accelerating the growth of our North American plant-based business.”
Danone’s North American business is the world’s largest Certified B Corporation® with a mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible. Like Danone, Earth Island® is a mission-driven company dedicated to innovating and producing high-quality foods that enhance the lives of its consumers and contribute to the betterment and wellbeing of the Earth and its inhabitants. Together, the two companies will continue to lead the plant-based revolution to support the health of people and planet.
The transaction is subject to receipt of required regulatory approvals.
About Follow Your Heart
For over 50 years, Follow Your Heart Brands has established itself as a leader in the dairy-free, plant-based industry. Committed to environmentally sustainable business practices, Follow Your Heart Brand manufactures its products in its Los Angeles-based solar-powered facility called Earth Island® which has been distinguished as Platinum-level Zero Waste certified, the highest possible status, under the TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) certification system. Follow Your Heart Brand’s signature products include Vegenaise, Dairy-Free Cheeses, VeganEgg, Salad Dressings, Dairy-Free Yogurt, Cream Cheese, and Sour Cream, all of which are naturally dairy-, gluten- and cholesterol-free and made with all-natural, non-GMO ingredients.
About Danone (www.danone.com)
Danone is a leading multi-local food and beverage company building on health-focused and fast-growing categories in 3 businesses: Essential Dairy & Plant-Based products, Waters and Specialized Nutrition. With its ‘One Planet. One Health’ frame of action, which considers the health of people and the planet as intimately interconnected, Danone aims to inspire healthier and more sustainable eating and drinking practices. To accelerate this food revolution and create superior, sustainable, profitable value for all its stakeholders, Danone has defined nine 2030 Goals, and paved the way as the first listed company to adopt the French “Entreprise à Mission” status, inspired by the public benefit corporation status in the US. With a purpose to bring health through food to as many people as possible, and corresponding social, societal and environmental objectives set out in its articles of association, Danone commits to operating in an efficient, responsible and inclusive manner, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. By 2025, Danone aims to become one of the first multinational companies to obtain B CorpTM certification. With more than 100,000 employees, and products sold in over 120 markets, Danone generated €25.3 billion in sales in 2019. Danone’s portfolio includes leading international brands (Actimel, Activia, Alpro, Aptamil, Danette, Danio, Danonino, evian, Nutricia, Nutrilon, Volvic, among others) as well as strong local and regional brands (including AQUA, Blédina, Bonafont, Cow & Gate, Horizon Organic, Mizone, Oikos, Prostokvashino, Silk, Vega). Listed on Euronext Paris and present on the OTCQX market via an ADR (American Depositary Receipt) program, Danone is a component stock of leading sustainability indexes including the ones managed by Vigeo Eiris and Sustainalytics, as well as the Ethibel Sustainability Index, the MSCI ESG Indexes, the FTSE4Good Index Series, Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, and the Access to Nutrition Index.
1 Source: IRI Syndicated, Total US MULO, L52 Weeks Ending 1/31/2021