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Danone opens new research and innovation center in Paris

Five floors and 900 sqm for Daniel Carasso hub

Following the appointment of the three new deputy directors and the change in the French company's management structure (see article Shake-up at Danone) and the sale of some brands (see article Danone sells its U.S. organic dairy brands), now the French multinational food company officially opens on the university campus in Paris-Saclay, France, the new research and innovation center for "the advancement of nutrition".

The new hub is named after Daniel Carasso, the son of Danone founder Isaac Carasso. The inauguration was led by ceo Antoine de Saint-Affrique in the presence of French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. The center's goal is "to bring health through food to as many people as possible". 

The center will focus on the development and innovation of fresh dairy and plant-based products and natural mineral water. The facility includes laboratories, pilot production sites, and limited production for specific prototypes.It currently employs 550 people, including researchers in the areas of life sciences, fermentation and gut microbiota, nutrition and health, as well as specialists in consumer experience, social sciences, product design, packaging and pilot-scale production. 

In line with Danone's One Planet, One Health vision, reports the company's official statement, "this B Corp-branded facility was also designed to limit its impact on the environment. It features wooden structures, photovoltaic panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and a water recovery system. These multiple initiatives -explains the official note- make the building the first European research center to have the low-carbon label".

The building is designed on five levels, the note continues, "around a very large central atrium, called the Plaza: 900 square meters with a ceiling height of almost 10 meters, designed as a village square to promote the gathering of Danoners around various events". 

During the opening, the company also unveiled a new product called HiPro Expert, an exclusive development designed for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. HiPro Expert is a yogurt with an "original recipe", developed by the center's researchers in collaboration with the athletes. According to Danone, the yogurt is rich in protein, a source of vitamins and minerals, with "the same taste and texture that consumers have come to love". 

"Our Renew Danone strategic plan puts science and technology back at the center of innovation, making them key growth engines for the company -emphasizes ceo Saint-Affrique-. Better serving increasingly diverse consumers and patients, and doing so in a more sustainable and innovative way, is a dilemma for which we need science and research more than ever to find solutions". 

"Enabling consumers to make appropriate food choices while innovating to meet needs associated with physical and mental well-being is our priority" -adds Isabelle Esser, executive vice president of research, innovation, quality and food safety at Danone-. This is achieved primarily through our diverse portfolio of products, which meet various nutritional needs without compromising taste or quality".

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EFA News - European Food Agency