Global food and beverage company Danone has announced that it has entered into a share purchase agreement under which it will acquire 100% of the shares of Earth Island, which is the maker of Follow Your Heart brand and a leading name in plant-based foods.
Earth Island represents a strong cultural fit with Danone and provides Danone with a unique opportunity to strengthen its plant-based business, says the company. Founded in 1988 to meet the growing demand for Vegenaise at the Follow Your Heart Market & Café, Earth Island is a pioneer in the U.S. plant-based marketplace with a leading dairy-free cheese brand—offering shredded and sliced plant-based cheese, grated and shredded plant-based parmesan and cream cheese alternatives—and egg-free mayonnaise brand, Vegenaise.
The company also produces delicious plant-based sour cream, salad dressings, and VeganEgg within their Follow Your Heart portfolio. According to a company release, as part of the Danone family, Earth Island will be able to accelerate the growth of the Follow Your Heart brand nationally and internationally alongside some of Danone’s best-known plant-based brands, including Alpro, Silk and So Delicious Dairy Free.
“Our mission has always been to produce the best plant-based food products and to make them available to as many people as possible. 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,” said Bob Goldberg, co-founder and CEO of Earth Island.
In the U.S., plant-based food and beverages are a $5 billion category, and plant-based cheese is one of the fastest growing segments within it. This partnership will enable Danone to enhance and expand its plant-based offerings to provide consumers with plant-based alternatives for even more occasions throughout their day, while also contributing to its goal of increasing plant-based sales worldwide from more than €2 billion in 2020 to €5 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, Danone North America. “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.”
Danone’s North American business is the world’s largest Certified B Corporation with a mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible. Like Danone, Earth Island is a mission-driven company dedicated to innovating and producing high-quality foods that enhance the lives of its consumers and contribute to the betterment and wellbeing of the Earth and its inhabitants. Together, the two companies will continue to lead the plant-based revolution to support the health of people and planet.
The transaction is subject to receipt of required regulatory approvals, said the release.