February 23, 2021
Leading global food and beverage company Danone and Earth Island, maker of Follow Your Heart brands and pioneer in plant-based foods, have announced that they have entered into a share purchase agreement under which Danone will acquire 100% of the shares of Earth Island. Cascadia Capital served as the exclusive financial advisor to Earth Island dba Follow Your Heart in the transaction.
Founded in 1988, Follow Your Heart is a pioneer in the U.S. plant-based marketplace with a leading dairy-free cheese brand, the most iconic egg-free mayonnaise brand, Vegenaise, as well as delicious plant-based sour cream, salad dressings, and VeganEgg®. With a proven track record of growth and innovation, and commitment to nutrition, sustainability and environmental stewardship, Follow Your Heart represents a strong cultural fit with Danone and provides Danone with a unique opportunity to strengthen its plant-based business. As part of the Danone family, Follow Your Heart will be able to accelerate the growth of its brand nationally and internationally alongside some of Danone’s best-known plant-based brands, including Alpro, Silk and So Delicious Dairy Free.
In the U.S., plant-based food and beverages are a $5 billion category and plant-based cheese is the fastest growing segment within it. This partnership will enable Danone to enhance and expand its plant-based offerings to provide consumers with plant-based alternatives for even more occasions throughout their day while also contributing to its goal of increasing plant-based sales worldwide from €2 billion in 2020 to €5 billion by 2025.
“Follow Your Heart is a pioneer in plant-based foods, establishing a leading market position in dairy-free cheeses and condiments,” said Erik Einwalter, Managing Director. “You can’t underestimate the interest from the strategic buyer community seeking acquisitions in the plant-based community as either an offensive or defensive play to add plant-based analogues to their product portfolios.”
“We chose Cascadia because of their industry experience, but they also understood our goals as shareholders. They were able to tell the proper story that portrayed our business objectives in a way that reinforced our culture and values,” said Bob Goldberg, CEO and co-founder of Follow Your Heart. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Danone to expand the reach of our products to consumers everywhere.”
The acquisition represents another successful transaction for Cascadia in the branded food sector. Recent clients include Pretzilla, La Tortilla Factory and Open Farm.
For more information about this transaction, please contact the Cascadia Capital deal team: