France’s Groupe Danone’s purchase of WhiteWave would combine Stonyfield, Horizon and Wallaby to Dominate the Organic Dairy Market
The French dairy giant, Groupe Danone (Dannon in the U.S.) has announced the proposed acquisition of WhiteWave Foods for approximately $10 billion. The deal would combine the world’s largest organic yogurt brand, Stonyfield, with Wallaby, a rapidly growing yogurt label, and the nation’s largest brand of organic milk, Horizon. The Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watchdog, said they were formally challenging the acquisition based on the serious erosion of competition it would create in the consumer marketplace and the negative economic impact it would have on U.S. organic dairy farmers.
WhiteWave brands are the top sellers in their categories. Horizon organic milk controls nearly 25% of the organic milk market, while their Silk brand is a leader in plant-based beverages. Danone will be taking control of a bigger piece of the organic dairy market than has ever been controlled by a single company before.
“With this acquisition we are concerned that Danone will easily be able to beat out any competition by lowering prices beyond what farmstead dairies, and more moderately sized milk processors and marketers, can withstand,” said Marie Burcham, a livestock policy analyst with the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute.
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