Danone has said today it has become a shareholder of French baby food start-up Yooji through its Danone Manifesto Ventures unit.
As part of Yooji’s capital raising, Danone Manifesto Ventures has joined forces with the company’s long-standing shareholders: Caravelle, a family-owned industrial group; and Capagro, a French venture capital fund dedicated to agriculture and food innovation.
Founded in September 2012, Yooji said it responds to a growing demand from parents for high quality baby meals which are easy and convenient, yet remain as close as possible to home-cooked meals.
All its products are sourced from organic farms and cooked in France with 100% natural ingredients, without salt or additives. Its products are sold in more than 600 stores throughout France.
Yooji will continue to operate independently, with the development of the business remaining in the hands of its existing management team.
This deal was completed in close collaboration with Blédina, the Danone-owned brand which also operates in the French infant nutrition market.
This investment is Danone Manifesto Ventures’ fourth in a year. Launched last year, it is a corporate venture capital unit with the mission of ‘supporting the development of innovative companies with high growth potential which share its vision of alimentation’.
Through this unit, Danone provides financial and operational support to these companies while giving them access to its teams around the world, along with the independence they need to grow.
Along with Yooji, it has invested in French food brand Michel & Augustin, as well as US brands Farmers Fridge and AccelFoods.
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