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Our Heritage

Born thanks to the merger of BSN and Gervais Danone in December 1972, Danone is above all the story of the encounter between Daniel Carasso and Antoine Riboud. This section traces the history of Danone, because our history is the foundation on which we will continue to build and shape the future of this incredible human adventure.

1 / 1
1919

BIRTH OF DANONE IN BARCELONA, SPAIN

Isaac Carasso lives in Barcelona in the 1910s. He observes that many Spanish children suffer from intestinal infection. Aware of research into lactic ferments by Nobel laureate and Pasteur Institute director Ilya Mechnikov, Isaac decides to introduce a product known in the Balkans for its health benefi ts: yogurt. He launches the Danone brand in 1919 named after his son Daniel, whose nickname was “Danon”. Danone is committed to healthy eating from the very start!

1 / 1
1929

DANONE ARRIVES IN FRANCE

Daniel Carasso founds the Société P arisienne du Yoghourt Danone and opens the fir st retail outlet on rue André Messager in Paris. He also creates the brand’s first advertising slogan: “Delicious and healthy, Danone yogurt is the rig ht dessert for happy, healthy digestion.” Danone pioneers its message of bringing together enjoyment and health. The French f lock to try Danone’s small ceramic jars of yogurt, which are first sold in pharmacies before becoming available for purchase at cheese stalls.

1 / 1
1941

THE START OF THE AMERICAN DREAM

In 1941, Daniel Carasso and his wife leave France
for NYC. Shortly after arriving, Daniel Carasso
sees a classifi ed ad: Yoghurt business for sale.
He decides to investigate. “It was a shop in the
Bronx run by an old Greek couple, who made
between 100 and 200 pots o f yogurt a day for
the cafeterias in the area.” By purchasing this
goodwill, he founds Dannon Milk Products Inc.
in 1942.

1 / 1
1966

STRONGER TOGETHER

In 1966, Antoine Riboud forms the French
company BSN by merging Verreries Souchon-
Neuvesel, France’s top producer of bottles and
jars, with Boussois, France’s second-largest
producer of flat glass. With 8,815 employees,
BSN becomes a glassmaker capable of competing
on a European scale.

1 / 1
1970

INVESTING IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY

BSN becomes France’s largest producer
of beverages and baby food by acquiring Evian,
Kronenbourg, Société Européenne de Brasseries
and Blédina (originally Evian Solide).

1 / 2
1972

GROUNDBREAKING SPEECH IN MARSEILLE

In a speech to 2,000 executives at the Assises
du Patronat, held in Marseille, Antoine Riboud
redefines the traditional role of the business
leader. Motivated by the ideals of May 1968,
he calls for a different approach to management
and outlines a new vision of corporate social
responsibility. This is the birth of Danone’s dual
commitment to business success and social
progress. His speech marks the first time an
employer in France stresses the need to consider
the human side of business.

2 / 2
1972

A MEETING OF MINDS

The story of the BSN-Gervais Danone merger
is primarily the story of a 1972 encounter
between Daniel Carasso and Antoine Riboud,
two visionaries, at CEDEP, a professional
development center for executives that their
companies had helped found a year earlier. Daniel
Carasso wants to grow Danone internationally
and sees in Antoine Riboud an unmistakable
entrepreneurial talent. The merger between the
two companies is announced in Dec ember 1972,
and a food industry giant is born.

1 / 1
1980s

EUROPEAN EXPANSION

Starting in 1979, BSN-Gervais Danone acquires
several companies including Amora, Maille,
Vandamme, La Pie qui Chante, Liebig, Galbani,
and Volvic. In less than 20 years, it becomes
Europe’s third largest food company, leading
the market in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain,
Italy, Luxembourg, and Portugal.

1 / 2
1990s

GLOBAL AMBITION

BSN-Gervais Danone seeks growth drivers
further afield. After Eastern Europe, Asia and
Latin America become logical tar gets. Its first
major Asian acquisition comes in 1991 wi th Hong
Kong-based Amoy, a specialist in so y sauces and
frozen foods

2 / 2
1990s

OPENING UP TO EASTERN EUROPE

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, BSN expands
into Eastern Europe, first to Hungary and then
to Poland (1991), then the Czech Republic (1992)
and Russia (1992), and finally Bulgaria (1993),
thus completing its European expansion. During
a visit to Russia in 1991, the long line in front
of McDonald’s outlets shocks Antoine Riboud.
The very next year, Muscovites are lining up
in front of Danone’s store on Tverskaya Street
(formerly Gorky Street).

1 / 1
1991

DANONE INSTITUE: PROMOTING GOOD NUTRITION

In 1991 the first Danone Institute is created,
an independent non-profit organization that
promotes nutrition research, informs healthcare
professionals, and helps consumers develop
healthier eating habits. There are now 19 institutes
worldwide, bringing together over 250 experts.

1 / 1
1994

A STAR IS BORN

In 1994, BSN-Gervais Danone shortens its name
to “Danone”, a brand with global potential that
is already familiar to consumers in 46 countries—
and the source of nearly a quarter of the company’s
sales. With the new name comes a new logo: a
child gazing up at a star. The logo symbolizes
the company’s drive to keep pushing higher
and going further.

1 / 2
1996

FRANCK RIBOUD BECOMES CEO

In May 1996, Franck Riboud is appointed CEO
of Danone, succeeding his father. He continues
to expand the company internationally, while
focusing on the three areas with the greatest
potential for growth and the strongest brands:
Fresh Dairy Products, Beverages and Biscuits.

2 / 2
1996

NEW CEO, NEW INTERNATIONAL AGENDA

Under Franck Riboud, the pace of international
growth picked up. In fresh dairy products,
Danone partnered with Clover in South Africa
(1996), La Serenisima in Argentina, and Stonyfield
in the US. Alliances in waters included Bonafont
in Mexico (1995), Aguas Minerales in Argentina
(1996), and Aqua in Indonesia (1998).

1 / 2
1997

DANONE VALUES HOPE

In 1997, Danone defines its values around
the acronym HOPE—humanism, openness,
proximity and enthusiasm—and sets out
to make them an integral part of daily
management. These values are the foundation
for a unique corporate vision that projects our
strength and our identity around the world.

2 / 2
1997

3 BUSINESSES FOR GROWTH

The Group continues to expand internationally
while also refocusing on Fresh Dairy Products,
Beverages and Biscuits—the three business lines
that offer the greatest promise for international
growth.

1 / 1
2000

MORE THAN A FOOTBALL COMPETITION

The Danone Nations Cup (DNC) is the world’s
biggest international football competition for
children aged 10-12. Danone is proud to have
created and organized this competition for the
last 16 years and inspired the dreams of millions
of youngsters worldwide. It is an opportunity
for children to learn about other cultures and,
for most, to travel for the first time. And it
becomes a symbol of the company’s corporate
culture.

1 / 1
2001

DANONE WAY: LOOKING INWARD

The roll out of Danone Way in 2001 encourages
all CBUs to evaluate their own performance
and launch initiatives that combine business
success with responsibility to employees,
stakeholders (from suppliers to consumers),
and the environment.

1 / 1
2002

GROWTH THROUGH RESEARCH

Danone’s international research center in
Palaiseau, south of Paris, is a powerful catalyst
for innovation for all brands in the company’s
Dairy and Waters divisions around the world.
The missions that guide the Center’s staff reflect
Danone’s R&D philosophy: develop safe products,
provide health and well-being through food,
and better understand and adapt to the cultural
specificities of our consumers.

1 / 1
2006

MAKING HEALTH OUR MISSION

“Since the first use of lactic ferments in the
early 20th century by Isaac Carasso, health and
well-being have been key objectives for all our
products,” said Franck Riboud when describing
the company’s mission to “Bring health through
food to as many people as possible”. Today this
mission guides 100,000 Danoners motivated by
the belief that nutrition can and must contribute
to bringing health to consumers of all ages, in all
countries, of all cultures.

1 / 2
2007

SOCIAL BUSINESS NETWORK

Grameen Danone grows out of the partnership
between Danone and Grameen Bank, the
micro-credit lender founded by Muhammad
Yunus. Grameen Danone is a social business
producing nutrient-fortified yogurt that poor
rural populations can afford. In 2007, Danone
took the next step by creating danone.communities,
an innovative financial tool to incubate social
businesses. The danone.communities fund gives
technical and financial support to a variety of
projects.

2 / 2
2007

A PORTOFOLIO FOCUSED ON HEALTH

Danone sells its Biscuits business to Kr aft in
2007 and buys Royal Numico, a global leader in
Baby and Medical Nutrition. With this acquisition
Danone focuses on 4 di visions including health.
Royal Numico has a portf olio of strong brands,
among them Nutricia, Milupa, and Cow & Gate.
Numico’s international presence in the Medical
and Baby Nutrition markets provided new
avenues of growth and profitability and helps
fulfill Danone’s mission.

1 / 1
2008

COMMITTED TO THE ENVIRONMENT: THE GENESIS OF LIVELIHOODS

In 1998, Danone signs the R amsar International
Convention on protecting wetlands. Ten years
later we set up the D anone Fund for Nature
to develop and provide funding for innovative
carbon offset programs, and we have broadened
the scope of these efforts by inviting other
businesses to join us thr ough the Livelihoods
Fund, launched in 2011.

1 / 1
2009

SUPPORTING OUR ECOSYSTEM

In 2009, Danone makes an initial contribution
of €100 million to fund the Danone Ecosystem
Fund. Its mission is to co-create innovative
business solutions with not-for-profi t organizations
that generate social and economic v alue for
small players in the local economy and Danone.
The fund supports 56 projects in about
26 countries and 40 CBUs with 42 partners,
focusing on expanding dair y farming, local
distribution systems, packaging recycling
networks, personal services, and socioeconomic
development.

1 / 2
2010

DAN'CARES: THE DUAL COMMITMENT AT WORK

Dan’Cares, our basic health care program,
compensates for the lack of medical insurance
in some countries. In addition to promoting
health, Dan’Cares represents significant social
progress—and it’s a powerful way to attract
employees, deepen their loyalty and engagement,
and reduce absenteeism.

2 / 2
2010

DANONE UNIMILK: A NATURAL PARTNERSHIP

With the acquisition of Unimilk, Russia edges ahead
of Spain to tie with France as Danone’s largest
national market. The two companies are highly
complementary. Danone has expertise in marketing
and R&D, along with a strong management culture.
Unimilk is fi rmly established, thanks to popular
brands like Prostokvashino and Tëma (infant
nutrition) and an excellent local distribution
network. Danone Russia is now carving out the
perfect position to grow in both of the region’s key
market segments: innovative new dairy products,
and traditional ones like kefir.

1 / 3
2013

60% OF BUSINESS IN EMERGING MARKETS

In 1996, Western Europe accounted for almost
80% of Danone’s sales. In 2013, 60% of its sales
come from emerging markets. The company’s
new global equilibrium is the result of geographical
diversifi cation and an expansion strategy initiated
in the mid-1990s. Danone has successfully
reinvented its industrial and social model
to adapt to the nutritional needs of different
markets and culture.

2 / 3
2013

KEEPING THE PLANET HEALTHY

For Danone, healthy food begins with healthy
nature. Danone has identified four key areas
around which it has made commitments to be
achieved by 2020: climate, water, packaging,
and agriculture. Danone’s goals for the
environment are to fight climate change,
protect water resources, transform waste into
a resource, and promote sustainable agriculture.

3 / 3
2013

CUTTING-EDGE R&D

Danone opens its all-new research and innovation
center in Utrecht in the Netherlands. Called
Nutricia Research, the center is now home to
400 scientists and experts representing 30 different
nationalities, focusing on early life nutrition and
advanced medical nutrition.

1 / 3
2014

CHANGE IN DANONE'S GOVERNANCE

On September 2, 2014, on the recommendation of
Franck Riboud, Danone’s Board of Directors votes
to separate the functions of Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer and to appoint Emmanuel Faber
as CEO, with Franck Riboud remaining as Chairman
of the Board.

2 / 3
2014

DANONE AND MARS INC: CREATE THE LIVELIHOODS FUND FOR FAMILY FARMING

Danone and Mars Inc., two of the world’s leading
food manufacturers, partner to launch a new
innovative investment fund, the Livelihoods Fund
for Family Farming (Livelihoods 3F). The fund
helps companies learn how to sustainably source
the materials they need from family farms,
thereby providing a signifi cant improvement in
the living conditions of those farmers and their
communities. It is open to any company sharing
Livelihoods 3F’s mission.

3 / 3
2014

A NEW FRONTIER

The economic and social dynamic in Africa is
powered by the growth of domestic markets
and the emergence of a significant middle class.
Present for over 20 years in Africa, Danone
invests over a billion euros in the continent
over two years to consolidate its position and
to expand into new territory. This investment
is accompanied by solid partnerships with
recognised parties and a sustainable commitment
to local development.

1 / 1
2015

THE MANIFESTO

Since the beginning Antoine and Franck Riboud
have stressed the importance of strengthening
the economic and social impact of Danone’s
growth. In 2015, under Emmanuel Faber’s
leadership, Danone unveils its “Manifesto”.
The company’s 100,000 employees bring it to life.
The manifesto describes how Danone intends
to fulfill its mission to bring health through
food to as many people as possible.