Danone has released its 2020 full-year report and 2021 guidance, and announced its latest acquisition.
In a press release, Danone noted that consolidated sales were down 1.5% in 2020, with Q4 down 1.4% compared to Q4 2019. Out-of-home channels, specifically, declined in Q4 after an improvement in Q3, driven by new restrictions and lockdown measures, especially in Europe.
Essential Dairy & Plant-Based saw net sales growth of 3.4%, bolstered by a 15% sales growth in plant-based led by Europe and North America. Waters sales declined 16.8% in 2020, impacted by COVID restrictions that prevented Danone from taking advantage of impulse buys and out-of-home purchases.
Regarding its environmental footprint, Danone achieved a place on the A lList for the three environmental areas covered by CDP of climate change, forests preservation, and water security. Carbon dioxide emissions are down in 2020 compared to 2019, setting Danone on the path to meet 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets. Half of its carbon reduction is linked to the implementation of regenerative agriculture initiatives within the company’s supply chain; Danone also sourced 54.3% of total electricity purchased from renewable sourcss.
Danone has also met its diversity goals, with 42% female directors, 30% female executors, 50% of the company’s directors from under-represented nationalities, and 30% of its executives from under-represented nationalities.
For 2021, Danone expects a tough Q1, due to the fact that the company did well in Q1 2020, and Q1 2021 will be viewed in comparison to that quarter. However, Danone expects to be back to growth in Q2, and to return to profitable growth in the second half of the year.
In a second press release, Danone announced the acquisition of Earth Island, which makes Follow Your Heart branded dairy-free cheese and cream cheese and egg-free mayonnaise.
“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, in the press release. “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.”
Earth Island shared a statement from Co-founder Bob Goldbert, in which he said: “To preserve and maintain our mission to produce the best plant-based food products and to make them available to as many people as possible, Earth Island looked for a partner that is both capable and well-positioned to help us accelerate and expand this effort. I am pleased to report that we have found one such company with whom we feel both a shared vision and shared values and one which we believe will, perhaps more than any other organization in the world, help us rapidly advance and expand our mission.
“We are excited to announce that we have agreed to join the Danone family of plant-based brands,” Goldberg continued. “Danone North America is proud to be the largest Public Benefit Corporation in America and the largest Certified B Corp in the World. Like us, Danone believes that their company has an ethical responsibility to its people, its community, and to the Earth and they are committed to being good stewards of Follow Your Heart’s mission and values. I invite you to join me in celebrating this wonderful milestone in Earth Island’s history as we take our place among the premier companies of the world and move forward toward the fulfillment of our dreams and our mission.”