Dannon takes first step toward 'bold change'

by Rebekah Schouten
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Dannon, Oikos Non-GMO yogurt, Danone
Dannon unveiled its first Oikos and Dannon branded products that contain non-G.M.O. ingredients, kicking off the company’s flagship brand evolution.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Sweeping changes are coming to The Dannon Co., a subsidiary of Paris-based Danone S.A., as the company commits to transparency and using non-G.M.O. ingredients in its three flagship brands: Dannon, Oikos and Danimals. The three brands represent about half the company’s U.S. sales volume.

On July 14, Dannon unveiled its first Oikos and Dannon branded products that contain non-G.M.O. ingredients, kicking off the company’s flagship brand evolution. Products from the Dannon brand family will contain non-G.M.O. ingredients and will be made with milk from cows fed non-G.M.O. feed by the end of 2017, the company said, and products from the entire Oikos and Danimals brand families will follow by the end of 2018. Any products in the United States that still contain G.M.O. ingredients will be clearly labeled by the end of 2016, Dannon said, independent of the federal government’s decisions.

Mariano Lozano, Dannon, Danone
Mariano Lozano, c.e.o. of Dannon

“Choosing to purchase foods with fewer or more natural ingredients, or with or without G.M.O. ingredients, is an important individual decision, and we feel strongly that people have the right to know how companies are making food,” said Mariano Lozano, chief executive officer of Dannon. “This is just the first of many steps toward our continued transparency and one that we hope others will follow.”

Dannon also plans to work with its feed suppliers and farmer partners to plant non-G.M.O. feed beginning in 2017, the company said, fulfilling its pledge that the cows that supply milk for the company’s three flagship brands will be fed non-G.M.O. feed. This initiative, slated to be complete by the end of 2018, will involve the conversion of approximately 80,000 acres of farmland to produce non-G.M.O. crops.

Dannon transparency, non-G.M.O. commitment
Dannon's commitment includes using non-G.M.O. ingredients, using fewer and more natural ingredients, labeling any G.M.O. ingredients and sourcing milk from farms the company knows and trusts.

Additionally, Dannon has been and is continuing to implement animal welfare practices at its farmers partners’ operations via the Validus Certification system, which ensures food is produced using socially responsible on-farm production practices. Currently, more than 90% of Dannon’s direct milk supply comes from farms that are Validus Certified, the company said.

“Shoppers are our main ingredient, and what is important to them drives what we do,” Mr. Lozano said. “For this reason, the range of products we make is evolving to provide even more choices. Transparency is the key word for this shift. To show to our consumers that in order to make a real choice, we need clear labels, today we are making a bold change and candidly discussing how transparency from brands is essential for shoppers to make real choices.” 
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