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July 1, 2021

Danone buys majority of coconut-dairy firm Harmless Harvest

The French giant has upped its stake in the California-based food and beverage firm.

By Dean Best

Danone has acquired a majority stake in Harmless Harvest, a US business offering coconut-based drinks and yogurt.

The deal has been carried out through Danone Manifesto Ventures (DMV), the French giant’s in-house investment vehicle. Financial terms were not disclosed, nor the size of Danone’s new shareholding.

Three years ago, DMV led a US$30m investment round in California-based Harmless Harvest. At the time, Danone said that tranche of funding saw it “build on its existing stake in Harmless Harvest”, without providing further details.

Harmless Harvest, set up in 2009, is best known for its coconut water. It launched dairy-free yogurt alternatives in 2019. The company expects to generate over US$100m in sales in 2021, Danone said, doubling its revenue from 2017.

In a joint statement, founders Justin Guilbert and Douglas Riboud, who now sit on a board at Harmless Harvest, said: “DMV has played a critical role in Harmless Harvest’s success since 2017, not simply from a capital perspective, but most importantly in an outstanding operational and strategic capacity.”

Ben Mand, a former Campbell Soup Co. and General Mills executive, was named Harmless Harvest CEO three years ago.

Laurent Marcel, who has led DMV since 2016, added: “It has been a privilege to be part of the Harmless Harvest success story over the past few years, as the company has continued to grow, innovate, and pioneer more responsible business practices.”

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