Danone Strategy

4899 words 20 pages

A world leader in the food-processing industry

This case study was prepared in close collaboration with Danone’s General Management. The authors wish to thank Mr Laurent SACCHI, Deputy Director to the Presidency, and Ms Charlotte PASTERNAK, responsible for press relationships and external communication, for their valuable contribution to the elaboration of the case study.

© CCMP 2011

Authors: Sylvie HERTRICH, Michel KALIKA and Ulrike MAYRHOFER

Initiating institutions: EM Strasbourg Business School, University of Strasbourg; IAE Lyon, Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University


I. Presentation of Danone 4

A. Creation of the group and evolution of activities 4

B. Strategic business units in 2010 5

II. Danone’s
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The Danone Company was created in 1919 in Barcelona by Isaac Carasso, who developed the first Danone yogurts. For this purpose, he relied on the works of the Pasteur Institute, and notably those of Elie Metchnikoff - who had won the Nobel medicine prize in 1908 – and on the manufacturing methods used in the Balkans. Yogurts, which were sold in pharmacies, were intended to fight intestinal infections in children. The name Danone came from the nickname “Danon” (little Daniel in Catalan) by which he called his son. In 1929, at the age of 24, the young Daniel Carasso settled in France and launched the product there. The son turned it into a pleasurable food to eat, thus attracting more customers. After the war, production became industrialised. The product line was extended to include fruit yogurts, flavoured yogurts and low-fat products. Following the merger of the two companies, the Gervais Danone group also extended to other activities, including pasta and ready meals, via acquisitions (Milliat-Frères, Petitjean and Panzani).

The period following the creation of the BSN Gervais Danone group was marked by a recession and a sharp increase in energy costs, which severely affected heavy industries, including flat glass. After deeply restructuring the “flat glass” activity, the company decided to dispose of it in 1981 (sale of Boussois) and to focus on the food sector.

From the late 1970s to the mid 1990s, the BSN Gervais Danone group


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