Danone North America expanded the company’s DuBois, Pennsylvania facility to increase production of its plant-based foods to meet growing consumer demand.
This multi-million dollar investment to expand the company’s capacity in DuBois grows the largest production facility making plant-based yogurt alternatives in the U.S. and adds additional capabilities, creating new opportunities for both Danone North America and the local surrounding community, according to a press release.
Flexitarians, people cutting down on animal protein or people following a vegetarian diet who eat meat occasionally, account for one-third of the total population in the U.S., and the total plant-based food category in retail is growing at 20 percent, compared with all food, which is growing at two percent.
“As flexitarian eating patterns continue to evolve and grow in popularity, plant-based food options present an opportunity to bring new choices throughout the grocery store,” said Mariano Lozano, CEO, Danone North America. Given this opportunity, Danone, the parent company of Danone North America, has set a broader global ambition to grow its plant-based business three times by 2025.
The area of 24 acres where the DuBois facility sits was once a local airport and the plant, with the new addition, covers a total of 180,000 square feet.
Following the expansion, the facility will now produce Vega® yogurt alternatives and nutritional powders, in addition to Silk® yogurt alternatives and So Delicious® Dairy Free yogurt alternatives and dairy-free cheese shreds.
“Dairy-free options must be produced in a facility that is solely dedicated to plant-based food production. As consumers continue to seek out more dairy-free options, having a facility that meets this standard gives us an opportunity to deliver on their growing demand and high expectations,” said Lozano.
Chad Stone, Plant Director at Danone North America’s DuBois facility said they will open more than 60 new positions, thanks to the facility expansion.
The DuBois plant also helps Danone’s priority environmental targets. In 2018, the facility reduced energy usage by 9 percent, measured in kilowatt per ton, and reduced cubic meter per ton of water consumption by 6 percent compared with the prior year. Additionally, of the facility’s total waste generated, only 7.5 percent went to landfill with the majority being diverted to recycling and reuse.