Belgian Alpro is now officially a part of French Danone, following a deal it made with its previous parent company WhiteWave six months ago. Danone has major plans for Alpro.
“Example to follow”
Alpro will have to become the leading brand in Danone’s new plant-based food business unit, led by Alpro CEO Bernard Deryckere. He is extremely enthused about Danone’s plans for his company. “I saw a glimmer in Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber’s eyes after he acquired our parent company WhiteWave. He called Danone an armada of ships and considers us to be one of the leading vessels, an example to follow”, he told De Tijd.
Currently, Alpro’s plant-based products are available in 54 countries, including every European country, but Danone’s goal is to bring Alpro to a wider range of markets. “We are the expert in plant-based dairy and with Danone’s help, we will speed up our growth.”
Backed by Danone’s network, Alpro will enter countries in which its new parent company is already active. “If our parent company wants to launch plant-based products in a particular country or continent, we will help them create the strategy, marketing and innovation. We will decide which products will enter the market first and how they will be presented.”
Thanks to this expansion, Alpro will also create new jobs. Although little will probably change in its main office in Ghent, it will definitely add jobs to the countries where it will launch its products. Its manufacturing plants will also definitely see job growth.
Alpro has factories in Wevelgem, France and the United Kingdom, but may add a new plant in Russia soon. “If we want to succeed in that market, we could benefit from a local factory. If we want to bring Alpro to South America, it makes perfect sense to manufacture there as well. We could build a new factory or just use one of Danone’s. That is something we need to consider in the future, when the question arises.”
Deryckere feels there is still growth potential in its current markets. “Plant-based dairy products currently take up 4.2 % of the European dairy market. We have reached 8 % in Belgium, so why should we not be able to reach that same percentage elsewhere in Europe?”