The facility, located in Fulda, Hesse, was established in response to the “sharp rise” in demand for infant formula under Danone’s brands, including Milupa and Aptamil. The site will produce 800 different infant formula products and will supply infant formula to the German, European and international markets.
The company is increasing infant formula production in Germany to meet growing demand in countries such as China for products made in Europe. In the Chinese market, Danone has phased out its Karicare range to focus on international brands Aptamil and Nutrilon. Speaking at an event in London – the Consumer Analyst Group Europe conference – earlier this year, CEO Emmanuel Faber insisted “international brands are there to stay in China – for a long time”.
Danone revealed that local sales in China have once again “turned positive” on the back of this strategy. The company’s sales in the market had been negatively impacted by a rapidly shifting consumer landscape as consumers switch where they shop and, increasingly, buy European-made formula online. Danone’s Chinese unit has also had to grapple with the far-reaching impact of the 2013 recall issued on some of its brands after Danone was supplied by New Zealand dairy Fonterra with whey that was thought to be contaminated with a botulism-causing bacteria.
The French group revealed this latest investment in European production is “one of the largest” it is currently making in infant formula, standing at EUR170m (US$192.7m).
The move will open up 240 jobs at the facility.