This recent addition makes the DuBois campus “the largest production facility making plant-based yogurt alternatives in the United States,” according to Danone. It opened with a ribbon-cutting earlier this month.
Over the last year, the DuBois facility reduced energy usage by 9% and reduced cubic meter per ton of water consumption by 6%. It also emphasizes a commitment to recycling and reuse, with just 7.5% of total facility waste going into landfills.
Danone North America occupies 24 acres of land in DuBois, covering 180,000 square feet. It will now produce yogurt alternatives and nutritional powders from Vega, yogurt alternatives from Silk and yogurt alternatives and ‘cheese’ shreds from So Delicious.
Mariano Lozano, CEO of Danone North America, said, “Dairy-free is different than non-dairy – dairy-free options must be produced in a facility that is solely dedicated to plant-based food production. As consumers continue to seek out more dairy-free options, having a facility that meets this standard gives us an opportunity to deliver on their growing demand and high expectations.”
The wider Danone brand is getting on board with dairy alternatives, as it set a global ambition to grow its plant-based business by three times by 2025. About one-third of Americans identify as following a flexitarian diet, and Nielsen reports that plant-based food in retail is growing fast at an average of 20%.
“As flexitarian eating patterns continue to evolve and grow in popularity, plant-based food options present an opportunity to bring new choices throughout the grocery store,” Lozano said.
Some of Danone North America’s most well-known brands are in the dairy alternative space. Silk has already added a new oat beverage to its collection of plant-based drinks this year. The So Delicious brand has grown to include alternatives to yogurt, milk, ice cream, cheese and coffee creamers.
Chad Stone, plant director at Danone North America’s DuBois facility, said, “Many people who enjoy our products look for plant-based options because they are interested in lessening their impact on the environment through diet. Recognizing this is a priority for the people we serve, we are committed to continuously improving our environmental practices to ensure they are best-in-class,” he said.
“We have several projects underway including minimizing waste, reducing electricity consumption by converting to LED lighting across all areas of the DuBois facility and creating efficiencies for water use in our cleaning processes.”