News briefs: Danone results and Tai Chi dairy

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Milk

This week, Danone says it is on track for full year profitability
and organic farmers get the Tai Chi bug.

Danone predicting operation-wide full year growth ​ Strong growth within Danone's dairy and nutrition businesses have helped drive solid first quarter growth for the company. The group claims that its total sales rose by 11.4 per cent to €3.7bn on an organic, basis during the three-month period. Company chairman Franck Riboud said that the continued integration of the recently acquired nutrition group Numico into its operations was expected to be a key driver in its attempts to meet an expected eight to ten per cent sales growth during 2008. "We are specifically pleased with the developments in our two new divisions - baby nutrition and medical nutrition - as their particular strong performances illustrate the quality and the speed of the integration process since the completion of the Numico acquisition,"​ he said. "Based on the group's overall performance in the first three months of the year, we are confident to achieve our targets for 2008 both in terms of growth as well as profitability." ​ Over the quarter, Danone says that it had posted strong global growth in its four key business segments, which include dairy, bottled waters, infant and medical nutrition. Dairy sales were up by 10.5 per cent over the period for the group, with its core segment brands in particular helping to offset increased commodity prices during the period. In the company's bottled water segment, sales were up by seven per cent on the back of markets such as Latin American, European sales increased marginally by one per cent, according to Danone. Infant nutrition led operational growth for the company, posting an 18.8 per cent increase in sales. Medical Nutrition sales increased by 14.6 per cent, the company said. Everybody was Tai Chi farming ​ Organic dairy farmers in the UK are looking to get in touch with their spiritual sides by treating their livestock to a good old fashioned bout of Tai Chi. The Federation of Organic Milk Groups has kicked of a new promotion campaign by getting its farmers, tank drivers and other stakeholders to get involved in the Chinese martial art form. Organic farmer Tristan Dale said that the scheme was more than just a nifty promotion to encourage a number of mystical-based headline dairy puns, and does in fact, have benefits for all involved. "Being an organic dairy farmer is hard work. I want to make sure I am as relaxed and focused as possible,"​ he stated. "My mood definitely transfers to my cows and as organic farmers we believe happier cows produce better milk."​ Dale agreed that martial marts and dairy production may not be the most obvious of combinations. "In organic farming we do our best to maintain a balance with nature, and Tai Chi has helped me maintain the inner balance which is reflected in my farm,"​ he said.

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