PARIS — Danone S.A. may count on two brands in separate continents as it strives to reach a goal of €5 billion in plant-based sales: Silk in North America and Alpro in Europe.
Both brands performed well in the first half of the fiscal year as Danone reported net income of €1,221 million ($1,363 million), or €1.87 ($2.09) per share on the common stock, which was up 8% from €1,132 million, or €1.76 per share, in the first half of the previous year. First-half sales rose 1.2% to €12,648 million ($14,119 million) from €12,498 million.
Within Danone’s Essential Dairy and Plant-based Protein (E.D.P.) segment, first-half operating profit rose 5% to €621 million ($693 million) from €590 million. Sales in the segment were €6,600 million ($7,367 million), up 0.7% from €6,554 million in the first half of the previous year.
“The momentum is building up as we execute our growth strategy,” said Cécile Cabanis, chief financial officer for Paris-based Danone. “Plant-based sales, as I said, continue to post strong growth, sequentially accelerating in Q2 with three main drivers.”
The first driver comes from plant-based beverages, the core of the portfolio, she said. Geographic expansion and innovation are the other two drivers.
Within the E.D.P. segment, North America delivered moderate sales growth in the first half. Almond-based beverages and adjacent categories drove solid growth in plant-based protein. Gains in market share in ready-to-drink coffee drove growth in coffee creamers. Competitor promotion activity, notably in the Greek yogurt segment, had an impact on U.S. yogurt, which had flat sales.
Danone North America’s Silk brand expanded its Oat Yeah oatmilk products into the yogurt aisle with Oat Yeah Oatmilkgurts. Within E.D.P. in Europe, Alpro, a brand of plant-based foods and drinks, continued to post double-digit growth.
Within Specialized Nutrition, first-half operating income increased 0.4% to €934 million from €930 million. Sales rose 1.4% to €3,696 million from €3,644 million.
Within Waters, first-half operating profit jumped 15% to €303 million from €263 million. Sales increased 2.2% to €2,352 million from €2,301 million. Poor weather had a negative impact on Waters in North America, Ms. Cabanis said, adding cooler weather than normal had a negative impact in Europe.