October 22, 2018 / 11:14 AM / in 10 months

French company Danone expects to triple size of plant-based business by 2025

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French food group Danone is pictured in Paris, France, February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French food group Danone expects to triple the size of its plant-based business to 5 billion euros ($5.75 billion) by 2025 as it pushes further into the field of healthy eating trends.

“The goal is to triple our plant-based business to 5 billion euros by 2025 from 1.7 billion euros in 2018,” Francisco Camacho, executive vice president for Danone’s ‘Essential Dairy and Plant Based’ unit told an investors’ briefing on Monday.

Last year, Danone bought U.S. organic food producer WhiteWave in a $12.5 billion deal, to boost growth and bring the company more into line with current trends for healthier eating.

As more consumers opt for healthier diets and try to pursue a more socially responsible lifestyle, Danone - along with rivals such as Nestle - has been seeking to rebuild that element of consumers’ trust in big food companies.

Bridgette Heller, executive vice president for Danone’s ‘Specialized Nutrition’ division, said she expected the specialised nutrition business would return to “strong positive” sales growth in China in the second half of next year.

Heller also expected the Chinese infant formula market to grow by low-to-mid-single digits in coming years, and that Danone would outperform the market going forward.

Last week, Danone reported a 1.5 percent fall in third quarter sales at its specialised nutrition arm, as sales in China dropped 20 percent following a period of strong growth. It had cautioned the slowdown in China would last several quarters.

($1 = 0.8694 euros)

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Ingrid Melander/Sudip Kar-Gupta

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