Danone’s Acquisition of WhiteWave Foods Could Harm Ethical Dairy Farmers and Consumers

August 18th, 2016

[This alert is over, and we won!] 

Don’t Let Giant Corporations and Factory Farms Corrupt Organics!

CI_DanoneWWMergerFrench 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 Danone-owned and world’s largest organic yogurt brand Stonyfield with Wallaby, a rapidly growing yogurt label. The deal would also give Danone control over the Horizon organic brands, which is the nation’s largest brand of organic milk.

The U.S. government should protect market competition by enforcing laws, including the Sherman Act and Clayton Act, which decry anti-competitive practices including price fixing, monopolization, and controlling trusts. Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice are charged with reviewing acquisitions over a certain size for anti-competitive concerns.

All organic stakeholders should be concerned by the Danone-WhiteWave acquisition. The market for organic dairy already has less competition than other agricultural sectors and is more susceptible to monopolization and price fixing.

With this acquisition Danone would control a significant majority of the organic dairy market, allowing them to easily push out smaller companies or farmstead dairies who would have difficulty competing with Danone’s superior economy of scale (the combined company will have $30 billion in annual sales).

Horizon already procures a large percentage of their milk from industrial-scale dairies managing thousands of cows each. The Stonyfield brand has always depended on family-scale farmers. That could all change after the merger.

You need to let the DOJ and the FTC know that they must scrutinize the Danone-WhiteWave acquisition closely for anti-competitive concerns in the organic dairy market and act to protect consumers, independent businesses and farmers alike from monopoly control of the market.

Please add your name to the DOJ and FTC petition today, telling them you support The Cornucopia Institute’s complaint letter asking the DOJ and the FTC to scrutinize the Danone acquisition, with particular attention to the anti-competitive implications in the organic dairy market.

Cornucopia’s major concerns regarding the Danone-WhiteWave acquisition include:

  • The Danone acquisition of WhiteWave is likely to severely reduce competition in the organic milk market – this purchase would combine Stonyfield, Horizon and Wallaby brands to dominate the organic dairy market.
  • Will farmers be able to obtain a fair price for their milk? WhiteWave is known for lowering the price paid to dairy farmers. These practices have a chilling effect on a free market, and will be compounded by the reduction of competition caused by this acquisition.
  • This acquisition will impact Organic Valley due to the existing supply arrangements Organic Valley has providing milk for Danone’s Stonyfield yogurt brand.

Additional web resources:

  • Cornucopia’s full news release on the Danone-WhiteWave acquisition and how it will impact the organic dairy market.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact: cultivate@cornucopia.org.

Sign the petition today to preserve a vibrant competitive market for organic dairy!

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