FRANCE – Multinational food-products giant, Danone, has lifted the veil on its new 17,000 square-meters cold logistics platform, the largest in France, built in Viry-Châtillon to the south of Paris.

Essential Dairy and Plant-Based Products (EDP), the fresh and plant-based dairy products branch of Danone, said the new facility dedicated to refrigeration logistics, is capable of handling 140,000 tonnes of goods per year, which represents around 30% of Danone’s fresh and plant-based dairy product volumes in France.

François Eyraud, Managing Director of Danone France noted: This is the largest logistics site out of the 25 that we have in France. It is part of Danone’s DNA and responsibility to bring health through food.”

Benefiting from Breeam certification, this logistics site was designed to contribute to the energy transition.

EDP highlighted that a white coating has been applied to the roof to reduce heat absorption by 10%, while energy from cooling equipment is harvested to heat certain areas of the building, and truck doors open towards the interior to prevent loss of cold during loading/unloading.

These efficiencies, according to Danone, are enough to allow a 25% reduction in carbon emissions compared to the company’s previous bases.

 The latest technologies deployed, such as mechanical assistance solutions for sorting and wrapping pallets, will greatly reduce the arduous nature of the tasks, thus between 100 and 130 employees will work on this site.

Danone’s Barcelona subsidiary officially open a US$22.6m renovated hybrid plant

Meanwhile, Danone’s factory in Parets del Vallès – Barcelona – has completed the renovation project that involved an investment of US$22.6 million and has made it the only hybrid plant in the group, which produces both dairy and vegetable alternatives.

The factory has been a pioneer in many Danone products since its inception, due to its proximity to the Spanish headquarters and the Barcelona R&D center.

Currently, the company produces 80,000 tons per year of 132 references of the Activia, Oikos, Vitalinea, and Alpro brands, exporting 23% of its production to more than 10 European countries. 

Out of the six lines the company has, five are for dairy (accounting for 85% of the volume) and one for vegetable alternatives (15%).

In addition, in 2023 the Barcelona-based subsidiary plans to complete its digitization project for US$6.6 million.

The project will involve the complete automation of the warehouse (with robots that autonomously transfer materials from the shelves to the production line) and improvements in inflows and processes to improve cost and production efficiency.

According to data from Danone, Spain is the third European market for vegetable drinks and is in the top 5 for alternatives to yogurt. Today, 58% of Spaniards consume vegetable alternatives to dairy, and of these, 98% combine them with traditional dairy products, in line with the rise of flexitarianism.

This modernization and improvements in the efficiency of Parets, will allow the facilities to alleviate part of the current increase in costs, and its continuity is guaranteed in the medium term whilst Danone’s decision to close down a plant in Asturias, whose production will be assumed by France.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro-industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE.