Global food and beverage company Danone and Earth Island, maker of Follow Your Heart plant-based foods, have entered into a share purchase agreement under which Danone will acquire 100% of Earth Island’s shares. The deal provides Danone with an opportunity to bolster its plant-based business.
Founded in 1988 to meet the growing demand for its egg-free mayonnaise, Vegenaise, at the Follow Your Heart Market & Café, Earth Island also offers dairy-free cheese in various formats, as well as plant-based sour cream, salad dressings and VeganEgg, within the Follow Your Heart portfolio. As part of Paris-based Danone, Earth Island will be able to ramp up the growth of the Follow Your Heart brand nationally and internationally, alongside some of Danone’s best-known plant-based brands, among them Alpro, Silk and So Delicious Dairy Free. In the United States, plant-based food and beverages are a $5 billion category, according to Chicago-based IRI, with plant-based cheese one of the fastest growing segments within it.
“Our mission has always been to produce the best plant-based food products and to make them available to as many people as possible,” noted Bob Goldberg, co-founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based 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.”
The partnership will contribute to Danone’s goal of increasing plant-based sales worldwide from more than €2 billion (U.S. $2.4 billion) in 2020 to €5 billion (U.S. $6.1 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 of White Plains, New York-based Danone North America, the world’s largest Certified B Corporation. “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.”
The deal is subject to receipt of required regulatory approvals.