Having made a global success of its probiotic dairy products including Activia yogurt in the U.S., where actress Jaime Lee Curtis is the face of the brand, Groupe Danone is hoping to replicate the feat with fruit juices and other fruit-based products around the world.
The Paris-based yogurt giant is acquiring a 51% stake in Probi AB of Sweden and has signed a 10-year agreement to give it exclusive rights to use Probi’s probiotic technology in fruit drinks outside of North America.
Is Danone ready to strengthen more guts worldwide?
“Danone is one of the most successful healthy food companies in the world and is better placed than anyone else to replicate the success of ProViva in Sweden in other parts of the world,” said Micheal Oredsson, CEO of Probi, the Swedish company that invented and popularized the ProViva probiotic-juice brand in Europe.
Outside analysts agreed. The announcement “underscores that Danone sees massive potential in probiotic fruit and vegetable juices,” said Julian Mellentin, a global industry expert and editor of New Nutrition Business magazine. Mellentin said that Danone’s move likely is connected to its recent announcement of a global joint venture with Chiquita.
“It makes sense that Danone should partner with someone who has access to fruits from around the world and expertise in the area,” Mellentin said. “Danone’s expertise lies primarily in dairy.” And, he said, “fruit is the future of food and health.”
However, Danone’s new agreement apparently specifically redlines North America. In the U.S., the rights to ProViva’s technology for fruit juice are held by NextFoods, a Colorado-based startup headed by Steve Demos.
As the founder of White Wave, which developed the Silk soy-milk brand, Demos used NextFoods to launch GoodBelly, a line of probiotic fruit juices and related products, a few years ago.
Danone’s moves with Probi underscore the importance of the growing probiotics marketplace worldwide. Maybe Jamie Lee Curtis can go international?