FRANCE- Danone, a global dairy and food company, has inaugurated its transformed production facility in Villecomtal-sur-Arros, southwestern France, signaling a strategic shift towards plant-based beverage production.

The conversion of the facility, completed over nearly two years with substantial capital investment, revealed a commitment to meeting the rising demands of consumers and aligning its product offerings with the growing trend towards plant-based alternatives.

The Villecomtal-sur-Arros plant has become Danone France’s exclusive oat-flour-to-oat-juice production facility, utilizing cutting-edge technology and featuring two production lines, one of which operates at high speed.

Meanwhile, the plant’s production capacity is expected to exceed 300,000 liters per day, with 90% of the output designated for export to France and 26 other European markets.

The strategic positioning makes the facility a key reference point in Europe for the production of oat-based drinks, particularly under the Alpro brand.

The transformation of the site aligns with Danone’s ‘Renew Danone’ strategy, focusing on adapting and expanding product ranges to meet consumer demand for healthy and diversified products.

With plant-based products gaining popularity, Danone aims to leverage its expertise to stay ahead of market trends and deliver innovative plant-based solutions to consumers.

As part of the transformation process, all employees at the Villecomtal-sur-Arros plant underwent specialized training in plant processing techniques.

This training drew on Danone’s existing expertise, particularly from its facility in Issenheim, eastern France, dedicated to the production of plant-based products.

The upskilling of employees positions the plant as a center of industrial excellence and ensures the seamless operation of the new production lines.

The inauguration of the plant reflects a broader shift in consumer preferences, with an increasing number of people opting for plant-based alternatives.

One-quarter of the French population now identifies as flexitarian, emphasizing the need for food companies to adapt to changing dietary habits.

The Alpro brand, known for its plant-based offerings, already caters to 3.6 million consumers in France, with Danone selling over 20 million liters of Alpro plant-based beverages in the country and over 300 million across Europe.

Benjamin Chevallier, Country Manager for Plant-Based at Danone France, emphasized the company’s commitment to dietary diversity.

He highlighted plans to raise awareness among France’s 67-million population and expand production of oat-based ranges, rich in plant proteins, and on-the-go formats to meet growing demand.

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