From ArticleWorld

An international food products company with its central headquarters in Paris, France is Groupe Danone. It specializes in dairy products, and it is especially famous for its yoghurt. It owns the brands Volvic, Evian (mineral waters), Lattella, Actimel/Activia (dairy products), and Lu (biscuits).

It was founded in 1919 by Isaac Carasso in Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain) as a small factory producing yoghurt, which being originally from Bulgaria was not very well known in Western Europe at that time. The name of the factory was chosen to be "Danone" as a diminutive of the name of his son, Daniel.

Ten years later, the first French factory was built, but during WWII, Daniel moved the company to New York, where Dannon Milk Products Inc. was founded. In the United States, Daniel changed the brand name to Dannon to sound more American. Then in 1958, the company returned to Paris, where its headquarters are located today. The popularity of Dannon shot up in the United States in the 1970s partly due to the In Soviet Georgia television advertisements which aired for many years.

The sale of Galbani's business at the beginning of 2002 marked a further step forward in a strategy pursued over the past five years, aiming for a focused business structure. Since 1998, Groupe DANONE has been organised in three business divisions worldwide which, in 2004, represented more than 97% of its consolidated sales: Fresh Dairy Products which groups together yoghurts, desserts and infant foods represent about 50% of the Groupe's consolidated sales, Beverages, essentially packaged water, which represent about 25% of consolidated sales and Biscuits and Cereal products, which represent about 22% of consolidated sales.

The motors of this supported growth are: a strong health/ well-being positioning, at the heart of concerns of consumers and new consumption opportunities (times or places) combined with the dynamism of the growth of emerging countries.

This focus on 3 dynamic categories allows the Groupe to have a determining strategic asset at its disposal to continue to display a growth rate that is higher than the average in the sector. The goal of the Danone Institutes is to link scientists involved in nutrition research with health and education professionals. Through these efforts, we aim to bring relevant scientific knowledge about diet to the attention of the general public.

Actimel is marketed in 35 countries. More than 1.5 billion little bottles are consumed. Actimel is a fermented milk to be drunk. As well as the two traditional ferments of yoghurt, it contains a specific probiotic (a living ferment bringing health benefits), stemming from the research carried out by Danone, the Lactobacillus casei Defensis. Carefully selected, the L. casei Defensis is the subject of thorough research deepened by Danone specialists, in collaboration with scientists throughout the world.

The regular consumption of Actimel contributes to preserving the good balance of intestinal flora, essential for a good state of health and helps to reinforce the natural defences of the organism. The Fresh Dairy Products, representing a volume of 22 millions tons in 2004, is a sector in which consumption varies greatly by market. Groupe DANONE has a dominant position in this sector: first place. We are highly successful in all the countries in which we are present. And once again, the key factor is innovation.

Groupe DANONE supplies the whole world with superior quality fresh dairy products… while at the same time respecting the tastes and dietary habits of each country by developing local brands.