Danone has announced a series of investments totalling around €100 million (RMB 790 million), to strengthen its Specialized Nutrition business in China.
The investments include the opening of a research centre in Shanghai and the expansion of capacity at its Jiangsu facility, to further develop Danone’s offerings in ‘food for special medical purposes’ (FSMP).
The Danone Open Science Research Center for Life-Transforming Nutrition will serve as a platform to conduct studies and research in the region, with a focus on breast milk and gut health.
As an ‘open’ science centre, the facility is intended as a venue for public sector, medical and academic institutions, as well as business partners and consumers to collaborate. Danone says that the facility will enable it to develop more relevant nutrition products and services, which build on local knowledge and science.
In Wuxi, Jiangsu province, where Danone’s advanced medical nutrition facility is located, the food giant expects investment to enable the expansion of its FSMP offerings. Specifically, Danone plans to invest in the development of protein-based liquid nutritional supplement solutions.
The investments also include the acquisition of Murray Goulburn Dairy (Qingdao) Co from Saputo Dairy Australia. Completed in June 2020, the transaction brings with it a registered infant milk formula brand and means Danone now has its first production facility for infant milk formula in China.
In addition, Danone has announced that its Early Life Nutrition business unit in China has achieved B Corp certification, which the company says means that Danone has become the biggest B Corp in Asia. The corporation aims to achieve the designation for its global operations by 2025.
Véronique Penchienati-Bosetta, executive VP, Specialized Nutrition, said: “The opening of the Open Science Research Center, the acquisition of local manufacturing capabilities and the B Corp certification are key milestones for Danone’s presence in China as they will allow us to further invest responsibly in the promotion of healthy and balanced diets, grounded in scientific research and tailored to Chinese nutritional and health needs, habits, and traditions.
“This investment further demonstrates Danone’s belief in the long-term growth potential of the infant milk formula and medical nutrition market in China and in the power of nutrition to positively impact health trajectories.”
The performance of Danone’s Specialized Nutrition unit drove growth for the company in 2019, and Danone reported an “exceptional” fourth quarter in China in particular, as demand for baby formula brands continued to grow.
By: Emma Upshallon
Source: Food Bev Media
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