The inauguration of the new plant marks a significant milestone for Danone, emphasizing its strategic focus on plant-based foods and sustainability.

The CEO of dairy giant Danone, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, recently opened Danone’s upgraded plant in Villecomtal-sur-Arros, France, alongside French officials and company employees. The facility’s transformation, which took nearly two years and required a significant financial investment, now positions it as a leading European hub for producing oat-based drinks under the Alpro brand, showcasing Danone’s commitment to meeting consumer preferences.

The inauguration of the Villecomtal-sur-Arros plant marks a significant milestone for Danone, emphasizing its strategic focus on plant-based foods and sustainability. By converting the facility to cater specifically to oat-based drinks, Danone aligns itself with the growing demand for plant-based alternatives and environmentally conscious practices.

Danone CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique

The site’s role as the starting point for the “Danone Champions Tour,” a major relay race involving many participants, highlights the company’s commitment to promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. The event serves as a celebration of the upgraded plant and showcases Danone’s engagement as a partner in major sporting events like the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Villecomtal-sur-Arros has transformed into a hub of industrial excellence, leveraging state-of-the-art technology and competitive production lines. The significant daily beverage output, with the majority earmarked for export, positions the plant as a key player in the European market for French plant-based products. It contributes to Danone’s global presence and reinforces its dedication to sustainability and innovation.

The plant’s central location in France allows it to efficiently serve diverse markets across Europe, further solidifying its role as a reference point for plant-based production. The capital investment and the extensive transformation process underline Danone’s commitment to staying at the forefront of industry trends, meeting consumer expectations, and contributing to a more sustainable and health-conscious future.

To support the site’s transformation, all its employees received specialized training in plant processing techniques. Course content drew on Danone’s existing expertise, as the company already operates a facility that produces plant-based products in Issenheim in eastern France.

Thanks to exchanges between the two sites, 49 staff members at Villecomtal- sur-Arros were trained by their counterparts at Issenheim to manage the start-up of the new production lines. As the food industry evolves, these employees are thus developing new future-facing skills. This site will be the starting point for new expertise at the forefront of innovation.

“We’re a multi-local company, which means our strength and future lie in our employees and our historic presence in local communities. Today, we’re proud to open a new production site for plant-based beverages. Making these products in France gives us a unique position in this market.” Yann Le Roy, Operations Manager, Danone France

Villecomtal as a Catalyzer for the Future of Plant-based Foods

As the global leader in both dairy and plant-based products, Danone focuses on inspiring healthy and diversified diets. With one-quarter of French people now identifying as flexitarian, the consumer demand for plant-based products is clear.

As such, Villecomtal embodies the “Renew Danone” strategy, based on adapting and rounding out product ranges to grow and maintain a competitive edge, in step with consumer demand for healthy, diversified products. This makes the facility a strategic priority for Danone, which is dedicated to diversification and future growth in France and other European countries. With the inauguration of Villecomtal-sur-Arros, Danone now has two French and four European sites dedicated to plant-based beverages, with the well-known Alpro brand a key driver.

Alpro already caters to 3.6 million regular consumers in France. Danone sells more than 20 million liters of Alpro plant-based beverages in France and over 300 million across Europe. Building on the flexitarian trend developing in Europe, Danone is using its know-how to innovate its dairy and plant-based products and meet French and European consumers’ demand for greater variety in their diets.

“Our Alpro brand is committed to dietary diversity, and we are working hard to meet demand. Going forward, we aim to raise awareness among France’s 67-million-strong population. And to do that, we will be stepping up production of both our oat-based ranges, rich in plant proteins, and our on-the-go formats,” says Benjamin Chevallier, Country Manager Plant-Based France.

About Danone France

Danone is France’s premier food company, dedicated to bringing health through food to a wide audience. Throughout its history, Danone has been a steadfast companion to numerous generations of French consumers, seamlessly integrating into everyday life. The company’s diverse product range includes dairy and plant-based offerings, natural mineral waters, and specialized nutrition, featuring 26 B-Corp™ certified brands such as Activia, Alpro, blédina, Danette, evian, Laboratoire Gallia, Nutricia, and Volvic.

Notably, Danone holds the distinction of being an official partner of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, further underscoring its commitment to promoting health and well-being on a grand scale.

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