Danone inaugurates research and innovation center, launches new yogurt product.

Danone has officially opened its new Daniel Carasso research and innovation centre for the advancement of nutrition on the Paris-Saclay university campus in France. 

The inauguration was led by Danone CEO, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, in the presence of the French prime minister, Elisabeth Borne. 

The aim of the centre is to “bring health through food to as many people as possible”. The centre will focus on the development and innovation of fresh dairy and plant-based products, and natural mineral water. 

The facility will include laboratories, pilot production sites and limited production for specific prototypes.

The site currently employs 550 people, including researchers in the life sciences, fermentation ad intestinal microbiota, nutrition and health sectors, as well as specialists in consumer experience, social sciences, and product design, packaging and pilot-scale production. 

It has also been constructed with sustainability in mind, featuring wooden frames, photovoltaic panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and a water recovery system. The building consists of five levels, which envelop a large central atrium, called the Plaza. 

During the opening, the company also unveiled a new product – an exclusive development for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games – called HiPro Expert. 

HiPro Expert is an “original recipe” yogurt product developed by the centre’s researchers in collaboration with athletes. Danone says the yogurt is rich in proteins, a source of vitamins and minerals, with the “same taste and texture that consumes have come to love”. 

Saint-Affrique commented: “Danone is a unique company: unique in its roots, anchored in a dual entrepreneurial and sustainable project; unique in its mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible; unique in its ability to innovate and reinvent itself; but above all, unique in the passion of the Danoners who carry and embody this mission every day and incarnate the ‘dual project’ daily.

He continued: “Driven by this pioneering spirit, our ‘Renew Danone’ strategic plan puts science and technology back at the centre of innovation, making them key growth drivers for the company. Better serving increasingly diverse consumers and patients, and doing so in a more sustainable and innovative way, is a conundrum where we need science and research more than ever to find solutions.”

Isabelle Esser, executive VP of research, innovation, quality and food safety at Danone, said: “Enabling consumers to make appropriate food choices while innovating to meet the needs associated with physical and mental well-being is our priority”.

She added: “This is achieved mainly through our diversified portfolio of products, which address various nutritional needs without compromising taste or quality. Our ambition for this site is to continue to honour our mission while staying one step ahead of the trends that will shape the food of tomorrow.” 

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