Innovation means supporting Danone’s Fresh Dairy Products division in its commitment to producing high quality products. Whether in terms of nutritional benefits, taste, flavour or convenience, Danone’s Fresh Dairy Products wishes to be the item of choice for consumers.
This means that innovation is possible in many areas, in order to offer a unique product experience. From the quality of the milk and other ingredients, the search for sustainable industrial techniques through to the aesthetics of the product itself, innovation has a role to play. For decades now, Danone has been convinced of the benefits of yogurt in particular and Fresh Dairy Products in general, and the company has continued to innovate so that these remain a healthy pleasure to be shared by all.
Yogurt contains nutrients that are essential throughout life and required on a daily basis. Its secret lies in fermentation. Just take good fresh milk, combine it with live ferments and you obtain yogurt naturally–a source of protein, calcium and vitamins with all the goodness associated, for young, old, and everyone in between. It’s been part of a way of life for diverse cultures all over the world for centuries, and for good reason.
Danone’s conviction is that a typical, regular serving of yogurt supports gut health through better lactose digestion and helps the development and maintenance of healthy bones. In many ways, yogurt is a nutritionally superior choice compared to many other food options.
Beyond bringing useful nutrients, yogurt is also versatile, meaning it can be both a sustainable positive daily habit and a delight for everyone in the form of a snack, a dessert, a drink or an ingredient. Yogurts are enjoyed around the world, especially in Europe, home to four of the top five countries for yogurt consumption (the Netherlands, France, Spain and Germany). And though growth may have slowed, per capita consumption remains 30 kg–by far the largest anywhere.
In regions where consumption is lower (which include Romania, Egypt, South Africa, Colombia and Russia), the market for Dairy–our biggest business line with 49% of sales in 2016–has enormous potential. In Russia, where Danone’s international brands rub shoulders with local brands, results have been particular good for ranges that emphasize naturalness, highly valued by Russian consumers. Prostokvashino and other local brands with a natural positioning and traditional products such as kefir are generating growth, as are Actimel, Danissimo and the 2016 version of Activia in clear cups.
In the U.S., Danone is No. 1 in yogurt, with Oikos, Light & Fit, and Danimals its leading brands.
As has been clearly stated in public health recommendations, the daily consumption of Fresh Dairy Products in general, and yogurt in particular, is a simple way of taking care of one’s health every day.
Dairy foods including yogurt are widely recognized as an important component of a balanced diet and are recommended for consumption in most national dietary guidelines, primarily to meet required daily intakes of calcium. Indeed, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations considers yogurts to be a nutrient-dense food supplying significant amounts of high-quality protein and micronutrients.
Everyone can benefit from yogurts’ nutritional quality. Through milk fermentation using bacterial cultures, yogurt and fermented milk products make milk more easily digestible for people who have difficulty digesting lactose.
To seduce the consumer everyday, Danone constantly innovates in the products offered, their packaging, their recipes, but also by inventing new ways to consume yogurt.
The Danone yogurt pot had been unchanged since 1978 and widely copied, so in 2012 it was completely revamped. Inspired by the porcelain yogurt pots created by Danone 90 years ago, the new KISS pot (Keep It Simple and Safe) has gone back to its origins. Its rounded shape makes it easier to hold and consumers can enjoy every last spoonful of yogurt.
Attracting the consumer also means offering new ways of eating yogurt. Danone is innovating with Yolado, an exclusive formula: a yogurt-based dairy product, made with fresh milk, free of preservatives and colours, which is eaten frozen. With less than 100 calories per pot (or half the calories of a classic ice cream), the result combines the smoothness of ice cream with the goodness of yogurt.
In the United States, the Fresh Dairy Products category is booming, even if it is still far behind that of Europe (by a ratio of 1:5!). Danone is working hard to diversify the way Americans eat yogurt, by increasing and completing its range of products. To this end, in just a few months, Danone developed new ranges, including Activia Greek and Light&Fit, joined forces with YoCream, the specialist in frozen yogurt for the food service market, formed a partnership with Starbucks to sell a completely new brand called “Evolution Fresh, Inspired by Dannon” through its American network in 2014, and bought YoCrunch, a company specialised in sweet or crunchy yogurt toppings.
In each country, Danone uses the know-how of its teams to find innovations that correspond to the tastes, habits and nutritional needs of consumers.
To better identify these local specificities, Danone has developed a programme called NutriPlanet: a comprehensive analysis of data on attitudes to food and nutrition, including cultural and sociological issues. Thanks to this complete evaluation, Danone adapts and designs "the" product that best suits the local situation.
Activia succeeded in winning over consumers from Japan to Mexico and from Russia to the United States by tailoring its products to each nation: offering vegetable flavours in Japan, cactus in Mexico, kefir in Russia and “Greek-style” in the US.
The Company works closely with local producers to improve farming practices well beyond its historical bastions. In new markets where the collection models are still recent and little developed, Danone helps to create milk production sectors with local authorities and associations.
Collection points or co-operatives open to small-scale producers have been created in a number of countries such as Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico and Ukraine, in order to help farmers manage their farms or their herd, optimise their purchases, improve feeding of their herd and access veterinary care. This system provides farmers with a regular income and greater independence, whilst offering Danone guaranteed quality and quantities. These projects have been carried out in regions where Danone is newly present, and have been supported by the Danone Ecosystem fund. They are essential for the creation of a diversified supply chain which includes the various stakeholders from the farmer onwards. Examples include the Milky Way project in Tunisia which provides support and assistance for small dairy farmers, notably via the use of micro credit, which is similar to Milk Communities in Ukraine and Milk Collecting Communities (MCC) in Egypt.