Danone Converts Dairy Yogurt Plant into Plant-Based Dairy Facility

The Dairy Major Has Completed the Conversion of A French Yogurt Plant into A Dedicated Facility for Plant-Based Milk Alternative.

According to Danone, a quarter of French consumers now identify as flexitarians – who consume both animal-based and non-animal foods – making the case for restructuring its operational footprint in France clear.

The Villecomtal-sur-Arros plant, where Danone produced fruit yogurts designated for the French market, was re-opened as a dedicated facility for the manufacture of Alpro-branded oat-based beverages. The conversion took two years to complete and is a response to growing consumer demand for plant-based foods in France and the rest of Europe. The Villecomtal site can output more than 300,000 liters of beverage per day for distribution in France and 26 other European markets, with 90% of the total production designated for export.

Danone runs a second plant dedicated to Alpro product manufacture – in Issenheim, eastern France – and four in Europe, including in the UK and Belgium.

In November 2021 when the company first announced its intentions to convert the Villecomtal plant, Danone said the French market for plant-based foods had tripled in 7 years, and expected it to grow by further 50% by 2025.

Global Food Law Experts say that plant-based milk was the leading category in plant-based food alternatives by sales value and unit sales in 2022. Plant-based milk alternatives generated €2.21bn in sales in 2022, a growth of 7% year-on-year and 19% since 2020. The category held a market share of 11% in milk, with oat, soy and almond the most popular varieties.

While France is one of the biggest markets for plant-based milk in terms of sales value – with €190m per-country sales in 2022 – Germany (€552m), Spain (€353m), Italy (€310m) and the UK (€309m) generated considerably more and had higher per-capita spend. In Europe. Danone’s Alpro is a market leader in plant-based milk alternatives, with Oatly being its main competitor.

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