Today, Danone announced they have entered into a purchase agreement to acquire 100 percent of the shares of Earth Island®, the producers of Folllow Your Heart products. According to the company, Earth Island represents a strong cultural fit with Danone and provides a unique opportunity to strengthen its plant-based business.
“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.”
Danone Buys Follow Your Heart, Aims for €5 Billion in Plant-Based Sales
Five years ago, Danone made their first entry into the dairy-free market with the purchase of WhiteWave. In that major buyout the French multinational acquired popular plant-based brands Silk, So Delicious, and Alpro. The move proved successful, so they’re expanding their portfolio with Earth Island.
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. Over the years, they’ve launched many successful dairy-free alternative products, including cheese slices, parmesan, cream cheese, feta, sour cream, and creamy salad dressings. Their mayonnaise and egg alternative products have also become household names for vegan consumers.
Danone sees Earth Island as an opportunity to take advantage of the rapidly growing plant-based market. In the U.S. alone, plant-based food and beverages are a $5 billion category, 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. The company has a goal to increase its 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 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. Last year, their plant-based products represented approximately 8.5% of their overall sales. The purchase of Follow Your Heart is still subject to receipt of required regulatory approvals.
 Source: IRI Syndicated, Total US MULO, L52 Weeks Ending 1/31/2021