Today, food company Danone announced its intent to acquire 100 percent of shares in Earth Island, the company behind Vegenaise maker Follow Your Heart. The acquisition allows Danone to build on its goal to increase its global plant-based sales to $6 billion by 2025 while giving Earth Island an opportunity to substantially grow its presence. While the financial terms of this acquisition were not disclosed, in 2016, Danone acquired WhiteWave Foods—parent company of vegan brands Silk, So Delicious, Vega, and Alpro—in a $12.5 billion deal.
“To preserve and maintain our mission to produce the best plant-based food products and to make them available to as many people as possible, Earth Island looked for a partner that is both capable and well-positioned to help us accelerate and expand this effort,” Earth Island Co-Founder and CEO Bob Goldberg said. “I am pleased to report that we have found one such company with whom we feel both a shared vision and shared values and one which we believe will, perhaps more than any other organization in the world, help us rapidly advance and expand our mission.”
Follow Your Heart’s vegan mission
Founded in 1988 in California to meet the growing demand for Vegenaise at its Follow Your Heart Market & Café, Earth Island now produces a variety of plant-based foods under the Follow Your Heart brand, including cheeses, sour cream, VeganEgg, and salad dressing. The acquisition will accelerate the domestic and international growth of Follow Your Heart’s products alongside Danone’s Silk, So Delicious, and Vega brands.
“Our mission has always been to produce the best plant-based food products and to make them available to as many people as possible,” Goldberg said. “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.”
Vegan at Danone
In addition to acquiring existing plant-based brands, Danone has launched vegan versions of its existing dairy products. In 2018, the Paris-based company added almond milk-based vegan yogurt line Good Plants under its popular Light & Fit brand in four, low-sugar flavors: Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Coconut, Strawberry, and Vanilla. In 2019, Danone also added a coconut milk-based version of its popular Oikos yogurt.
“We are delighted to welcome Follow Your Heart’s team to our amazing team at Danone,” Shane Grant, Executive Vice President and CEO of Danone North America, said. “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.”