French dairy giant Danone has announced a €70m ($76m) investment in a new production line for tube-feeding products in France.

Around €60m of the funds will go towards producing circa 30 recipes of Danone’s oral nutritional supplement under its specialised nutrition range of Nutricia, at the Steenvoorde site in northern France.

The 110-year-old site will produce roughly 20 million litres of medical nutrition per year, Danone’s division which develops products for people with special medical needs.

Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Danone, said: “Nutritional needs change as people grow, age and face health challenges and at Danone we believe that we have a responsibility to help generations live as healthily as possible. We are continually innovating, investing and utilising our 125 years of expertise to develop products that are adapted to the growing nutritional needs of millions of patients around the world. 

“This investment is also in line with our Renew Danone strategy and shows our commitment to accelerating our adult medical nutrition product offering to meet healthcare demands and serve more patients.”

Danone’s medical nutrition business is part of its wider “specialised nutrition” division, which also includes products for infants such as baby food and formula. The company says medical nutrition products account for approximately 40% of the division’s sales.

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In addition to the production line, Danone will also be investing €10m in new infrastructure at the Steenvoorde site, including a biomass boiler. This boiler will reduce the carbon footprint of the site by “almost 70%”, the group said.

The site, which has around 430 employees, currently produces Danone’s specialised nutrition ranges for early life, including Gallia and Blédina brands.

In Danone’s full-year results for 2023, its specialised nutrition segment generated €8.5bn ($9.1bn), up 3.3% on 2022. The unit reported recurring operating profit of €1.77bn, down from €1.8bn the previous year.

In the opening quarter of this year, specialised nutrition returned €2.18bn in net sales, up 1.9% year-on-year.

Earlier this month, Danone struck a deal to acquire Functional Formularies, a US whole foods tube-feeding business for an undisclosed fee, adding to its enteral tube-feeding range.

Last September, Danone announced an investment into its medical nutrition segment by expanding a factory in Poland, spending €50m to add a production line at its plant in Opole.

The following month, the Activia yogurt owner invested €15m in a factory expansion in Turkey for medical nutrition products. Shortly after, it expanded the line of products it sells in China for adults with special medical needs, adding its Fortimel brand to the local portfolio.