Danone acquires Earth Island in a vegan push
23 February 2021
French food giant Danone has agreed to buy US plant-based foods specialist Earth Island, in a deal that, the company said, would help the group reach 5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) in plant-based sales by 2025.
Danone North America has agreed to acquire 100 per cent of the shares of Earth Island, producer of Follow Your Heart, a US leader of dairy alternatives and maker of the iconic egg-free mayonnaise Vegenaise.
A joint statement, issued on Friday, did not disclose the financial terms of the acquisition.
“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.”
“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”.
Follow Your Heart began as a seven-seat sandwich and juice bar in 1970, in California’s San Fernando Valley. Earth Island, which was founded in 1988, runs brands such as ‘Follow Your Heart’ and ‘Vegenaise’.
Earth Island’s extensive plant-based portfolio now includes shredded and sliced plant-based cheese, grated and shredded plant-based parmesan, cream cheese alternatives, plant-based sour cream, salad dressings, and VeganEgg, as well as the Vegenaise which has since become a household staple for vegans across the US.
Danone had, in 2017, bought US organic food producer WhiteWave in a $12.5 billion deal as the yoghurt maker tries to respond to a consumer shift towards healthy eating.
Danone has witnessed a spike in demand for WhiteWave's products that have outsold mainstream packaged food businesses, highlighting the consumer shift toward plant-based foods.
From plant-based sausages, burger patties and nuggets to dairy product and cheese alternatives, the market now offers an enormous variety of plant-based foods. In other words, plant-based has become part of consumers’ daily lives.