Dairy major Danone, with contribution from its corporate venture arm Danone Manifesto Ventures, is pushing forward with a number of partnerships, aiming both to sign new partnerships and strengthen existing ones.
First up, Danone has a joint business development plan with Danish ingredients supplier Chr Hansen to push for innovation in both dairy and plant-based products, using the latter's bioscience solutions. In particular, they will focus on boosting functionality to improve consumer health. Danone will also supply its 1800 strains of ferments to push forward research on the gut microbiome.
More broadly, the 'Partner for Growth' programme will focus on innovations in science and technology in areas such as agriculture; reducing costs in supply chains by utilising technology and cutting down on waste; making Danone’s assets slicker and more flexible; and improving sustainability by cutting down greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain.
“Anticipating and seizing opportunities is . . . what Partner for Growth is all about,” said Vikram Agawal, Danone’s chief operations officer.
“A structured, holistic and mutually-beneficial approach to transform the way we work with partners, to take advantage of short-term opportunities and prepare our brands and categories for sustainable growth in the long-term.
“It will help us leverage more from our supplier and partner ecosystem to drive shared business growth rather than using a traditional linear approach. It’s how we’ll stay ahead of emerging trends, serve our customers and consumers better and unlock sustainable growth.”
One key partnership is a joint business development plan signed by Danone and professional services firm Genpact, which allowed the two companies co-innovate at scale by using digital technologies across the supply chain.
Danone also partners with dairy producers. Last week week, it hosted an event in its innovation centre in Paris Saclay, where it outlined future plans to 50 suppliers and recognised successful relationships.
For example, it partners with McCarty Family Farms on improving regenerative agriculture practices, which takes place alongside Danone’s existing regenerative agriculture efforts around the world.
It also recognised successful partnerships, such as with dairy producer Arla Food around supplying speciality dairy ingredients, crucial to products such as HiPro and YoPro; and a partnership with Circulate Capital to increase plastic collection which yielded two successful projects, one in Asia and one in Latin America.
Danone also plans to work with educational institutions.
“Since its origins, Danone has innovated with others to bring consumers and patients healthy food and water fuelled by over a century of ground-breaking nutrition, hydration and fermentation research,” said Isabelle Esser, chief research, innovation, quality and food safety officer at Danone.
“Together with suppliers and partners that share our ambition to design and offer superior products to consumers and patients across the world, it is time to step up! Through close collaboration with our partners, we can explore new horizons related to product superiority, new technologies in fermentation and decarbonation and find new solutions that benefit us, our partners, consumers and the planet.”