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France 13.02.2024

Danone Completes €43 Million Factory Transformation to Meet Rising Demand for Oat Milk

Source: The DairyNews
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In a significant move to address the growing popularity of plant-based alternatives, Danone has recently inaugurated its revamped oat milk production facility in Villecomtal-sur-Arros (Gers).
Danone Completes €43 Million Factory Transformation to Meet Rising Demand for Oat Milk
The conversion of the former dairy unit, involving a substantial investment of €43 million, signifies a strategic response to shifting market trends. The upgraded plant is poised to play a crucial role in meeting the surging demand for oat milk, with expectations to contribute one out of every ten cartons of oat milk sold globally by the renowned French group.

Operational since late December 2023, the plant currently produces 100,000 liters of plant-based milk per day, with a robust daily production capacity of 300,000 liters. Alpro, the group's prominent brand, is set to distribute the oat milk across 26 countries, primarily in Europe. The innovative process employed by Danone at this Gers-based unit, utilizing oat flour instead of conventional syrups, positions it as a pioneering reference in Europe.

Thierry Pasquet, the director of the site, highlighted the uniqueness of the process, emphasizing its distinction from typical manufacturing methods. "We have developed an innovative process, unique in Europe, to produce milk from oat flour, while most manufacturers use syrups. We are becoming a European reference for Danone," he explained.

Beyond its material investments, the project underscores Danone's commitment to ethical practices by fostering a local supply chain. Initial oat supplies will originate from Europe, primarily Spain and Germany, with a long-term vision of establishing a regional sourcing network.

The transformative project has not only involved substantial financial investments but also human resources development. Approximately 138 employees underwent extensive training, totaling around 110 hours per individual. Collaborative exchanges with the group's soy milk production plant in Issenheim (Bas-Rhin) enriched the team with valuable insights and experiences.

Looking ahead, the Gers-based unit is poised to expand its product range to include various items based on syrups, such as coconut milk and rice milk. This strategic move aligns with Danone's vision to stay at the forefront of the evolving consumer preferences for sustainable and plant-based alternatives.
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February 2024
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