Green America in Food Business News: Dannon debuts Non-GMO Project verified yogurts

Dannon yogurts with non-GMO certification

This article originally appeared in Food Business News, on September 21, 2017

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — DanoneWave, the North American operations of Danone S.A., is introducing its first Non-GMO Project verified yogurts as part of its Dannon Pledge, the company’s commitment to practices focused on sustainable agriculture, transparency and naturality. DanoneWave’s Dannon brand whole milk yogurts and plain quarts as well as Danimals smoothies will now feature the Non-GMO Project verified seal.

Sergio Fuster, DanoneWave
Sergio Fuster, president of DanoneWave’s yogurt team

“We hear that consumers increasingly want to know what’s in the products they buy and how they’re made,” said Sergio Fuster, president of DanoneWave’s yogurt team. “One of the ambitions of the Dannon Pledge was to provide consumers with yogurt choices that support the transparency they have been asking for. As a subsidiary of DanoneWave Public Benefit Corp., the largest public benefit corporation in the U.S., we’re making changes to our business to answer that demand. One key step is Non-GMO Project verification of select Dannon products. By working closely with organizations like the Non-GMO Project, we’re offering consumers more food choices that match their preferences.”

To achieve Non-GMO Project verification, DanoneWave had to ensure its products were made with milk from cows fed non-G.M.O. feed. To qualify for the verification, DanoneWave worked with its dairy farmer partners to develop the needed non-G.M.O. feed for cows. An estimated 80,000 acres of U.S. farmland is needed to cultivate the new supply, the company said, and DanoneWave is working with Green America to help develop that supply.

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“The scale at which Dannon is working is impressively large, and we are pleased to be able to assist them to find the right partners to work with to ensure that America’s leading yogurt maker continues to bring new choices to shoppers, while deepening their sustainability practices,” said Alisa Gravitz, president and chief executive officer of Green America.

DanoneWave plans to eventually procure Non-GMO Project verification for all products from the Dannon, Oikos and Danimals brand families.

DanoneWave announced the Dannon Pledge in April 2016. In July 2016, the company starting using non-G.M.O. ingredients in its three flagship brands: Dannon, Oikos and Danimals. 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.

Dannon Pledge

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“We are making progress to implement the Dannon Pledge.” DanoneWave said, “The introduction of the first products under the Dannon and Danimals brands with the Non-GMO Project verified seal is a major milestone, as is the fact that more than 90% of our milk comes from dairy farmer partners that have achieved Validus animal welfare certification. We look forward to providing further updates in the future.”