Dannon's Response to Unfounded Accusations about the Company's Pledge to Sustainable Agriculture, Naturality and Transparency

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Oct. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dannon Company is the leading maker of yogurt in the USA and has earned this position based on the variety of products we make available to American shoppers and the integrity with which we make them. In fact, over the past several years both Dannon's business and the yogurt category have grown significantly. This approach has always benefitted all of our business partners, including the dairy farmers who chose to work with us and who we value greatly.

We were surprised to receive a divisive and misinformed letter about our efforts to continue to grow America's enjoyment of dairy products, including yogurt. Making yogurt begins with the wholesome milk that our farmers sell to us. Unlike any other large dairy processors, we have built direct and transparent relationships with our independent American dairy farmer partners. Together with them we are beginning to implement the Dannon Pledge, announced six months ago, which commits to evolve three of our brands to be made with non-GMO ingredients, as well as non-GMO feed for the cows from which we source our milk, between now and 2018. These three brands – Dannon, Danimals and Oikos - represent about half of our portfolio of products. Additionally, the Dannon Pledge commits to be transparent with American shoppers about which products include GMO ingredients and which don't. We are ahead of schedule and will label on-pack the presence of GMO ingredients by the end of 2016.

For our entire portfolio, to help improve sustainable agricultural practices and protect biodiversity, we are working with our farmer partners to reach for better soil health, water quality and quantity, an increase in biodiversity, and decrease in carbon emission and energy use. We are co-creating innovative solutions to fulfill this pledge with our business partners, similar to what we have already started with our direct milk suppliers. Regarding GMO crops, we believe the currently approved GMOs are safe. Furthermore, we believe that sustainable agricultural practices can be achieved with or without the use of GMOs. However, we believe there is growing consumer preference for non-GMO ingredients and food in the US and we want to use the strong relationships we have with our farmer partners to provide products that address this consumer demand. The changes we will make will enable consumers to make everyday choices for themselves, their family and children consistent with their wish for more natural and sustainable eating options, choosing which agricultural and environmental model they favor.

We believe the changes in sustainable agricultural practices we are seeking can lead to a reduction of the usage (quantity and quality) of herbicides and pesticides. Careful management of the use of pesticides and herbicides has a major role to play to achieve our goal.

"We believe strongly that the unparalleled range of choice that Danone's US affiliates provide, from organic, to non-GMO ingredients, and to conventional dairy is a reason to celebrate rather than criticize," said Mariano Lozano, CEO of The Dannon Company. "We encourage anyone who wishes to learn more to read the Dannon Pledge at www.DannonPledge.com."

About The Dannon Company
Headquartered in White Plains, New York, Dannon makes yogurt in Minster, OH, Fort Worth, TX, West Jordan, UT, and Portland, OR, and offers more than 200 different flavors, styles and sizes of cultured refrigerated and frozen dairy products to serve the diverse needs of its retail and foodservice customers. Dannon brings health through food to as many people as possible via its wide offering of delicious and nutritious fresh and frozen yogurts. Dannon is committed to encouraging Americans to eat one yogurt every day with a convenient, popular and nutrient dense food as a simple step that can help Americans achieve healthy dietary patterns. Dannon is a subsidiary of Danone, and Danone is the top -selling brand of yogurt worldwide, sold under the names Dannon and Danone. For more information, visit www.dannon.com.

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Oct 17, 2016, 18:33 ET