Danone is present in over 130 markets and generated sales of €21.9 billion in 2016, with more than half in emerging countries. In Bangladesh, Danone in partnership with Grameen, introduced Shakti Doi to the market, a revolutionary product in the developing health and nutrition consumer goods sector of the country.
Danone’s latest investment is part of a global trend observed among big companies, who have been increasingly turning to and partnering with smaller rivals in respective industries to integrate and expand value chains. This is the fourth in a year for Danone Manifesto Ventures, which was founded in 2016, and highlights Danone’s response to a consumer shift toward healthy eating. Previous investments by Danone include French cookie company Michel et Augustin, AccelFoods, a U.S. fund that looks for upstart natural and organic brands, and Farmer’s Fridge, a U.S. company which makes vending machines that sell organic salads and snacks.
The pattern is obvious. Danone is investing in startups and companies that cater to the growing worldwide demand for healthy food produced through organic, sustainable means.
As part of Yooji’s capital raising, Danone Manifesto Ventures has joined the company’s long-standing shareholders: Caravelle, a family-owned industrial group; and Capagro, a French venture capital fund dedicated to agriculture and food innovation.
The baby-food manufacturers were founded in 2012, in response to increasing demands from parents who wanted high-quality readily available healthy baby meals, that would be as close to home-cooked meals as possible. Yooji currently manufactures and distributes organic, healthy baby food devoid of additives and salt, across 600 stores in France.
Danone’s funding initiative looks to provide financial and operational support to companies all over the globe by giving them access to their widespread teams and information. However, these benefits do not come with chains, and the startups are given freedom to grow at their own pace, in their own ways.