With consumers far more aware of how their choices affect their health, as well as less-privileged communities, Danone has made worldwide health its priority—deeply committed to its strategy to create a global presence, be 100 percent health driven, contribute to a sustainable food chain, and provide access to their products to everyone, everywhere.
Danone’s latest efforts demonstrate this pledge, attracting major global partners seeking to promote healthier living. Earlier this year, the brand teamed with Mars, Inc. to establish the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming, an investment fund that supports small farms in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and teaches companies how to source sustainably. Danone also partnered with McDonald’s to make a kid-friendly version of its yogurt available in Happy Meals in more than 35 countries. And the brand’s focus on promoting better health has attracted celebrity endorsements, including one from Shakira, who partnered with Activia to create a music video for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil to benefit the World Food Programme.
And with bottled water poised to outsell soda in countries like the U.S.—and environmental forecasts advising that demand for water is expected to rise 40 percent by 2013—Danone’s continued efforts around sustainability are key. In 2014, Volvic’s pioneering “1L for 10L” program, to provide access to safe drinking water to people in Africa, celebrated its 10th anniversary. This year, Danone also celebrated the success of its five-year socioeconomic initiative, Ecosystem, through which it created a EUR €100 million general-interest fund and partnered with 40-plus NGOs on programs that benefited 31,000 of Danone’s small economic partners worldwide.
But perhaps the biggest news for Danone was 18-year CEO Franck Riboud’s dissociation from his role in 2014. The company’s second in command, Emmanuel Faber, took over as CEO, at a time when Danone was recovering from a 25 percent stake purchase of Yashili International (a Chinese milk powder manufacturer), which was affected by a health scare.
Danone, however, closed out 2014 with positive growth in the European market for the first time in years, and rose 5 percent in brand value this year.