French group Danone's venture capital fund eyes 20-25 deals by 2020
Danone Manifesto Ventures, an investment fund set up by the French food giant to target start-up companies challenging the dominance of big brands, expects to have invested in 20-25 such firms by 2020.
Managing Director Laurent Marcel told Reuters the fund was looking at sectors ranging from healthy drinks, snacks and baby food, to the search for alternative protein sources and new ways to build up relationships with consumers.
“Our ambition is to make between six and seven investments per year. We could have a portfolio of 20-25 companies by 2020,” said Marcel.
New York-headquartered Danone Manifesto Ventures, set up in 2016, has now spent nearly half its initial $150 million budget.
Changing consumer tastes are shaking up the mainstream food manufacturing industry, and a growing demand for healthy food produced in ways that protect the environment and communities has allowed newcomers to win market share.
Danone and its rivals such as Nestle have been seeking to adapt to these new trends, as the so-called “Millennial” generation opts for healthier diets and lifestyles seen as being socially responsible in terms of general ethics.
Group Chief Executive Emmanuel Faber has said he was banking on a push by Danone, which is the world’s biggest yoghurt maker, into these areas to deliver sales growth above that of its peers over the coming decade.
Danone bought US organic food producer WhiteWave in a $12.5 billion deal last year as part of that strategy.