“The early life nutrition division has been showing strong and consistent growth over the past years," Mirjam Govers, director of global communications at Danone-Nutricia's Early Life Nutrition division, told NutraIngredients.
"Sales growth in the first nine months of 2015 was 11.2% like-for-like. Our international brands, including Aptamil and Nutrilon, are in high demand worldwide, and this is still growing.”
She said this growth could be attributed to “parents around the world looking for high quality and safe products for their children”.
Capacity to double
Danone said the facility would give it the capacity it needs to meet this demand. It said the plant represented its largest investment to date in European production capabilities, and would double its capacity in the Netherlands. Output will be exported to more than 80 countries worldwide.
“Our products are sold in 150 markets. Europe and Asia are very important geographical areas for us, as well as Latin America and the Middle East,” said Govers.
The facility will be built in Cuijk, just 6km from Danone’s Nutricia production facility, and is scheduled to come into operation at the end of 2017.
Danone confirmed that the existing factory would close as soon as the new one was fully operational.
The company said this site had been chosen to “capitalise on the expert know-how of current staff” and for its proximity to Danone’s research and development centre in Utrecht, which is the company’s global hub for research into early life and medical nutrition.
Asked where Danone was currently focusing its early life nutrition R&D, Govers said: “Our R&D teams in early life nutrition focus on nutrition and health of a child during its first 1000 days - from the start of pregnancy until the age of two. The programmes not only include healthy children, but also those with special nutritional needs, such as preterm infants or infants with cow’s milk allergy.”
According to Govers, the new facility would incorporate “state-of-the-art technologies” for processing, spray drying, blending and packing of products, as well as for sustainable production.
Alliance with Veolia
In a separate announced this morning the company said it had formed an alliance with French environmental services group Veolia in a bid to “meet the challenge of climate change”.
Both parties will bring their respective skills to the table to tackle challenges such as securing access to water resources and sustainable management of plastic packaging. Danone said both of these issues were central to its new climate policy, which targets zero net carbon emissions by 2050 for operations within its direct and shared scope of responsibility.