The Dannon Company, Inc., has its roots in Spain, where Danone was founded by Isaac Carasso in
1919. Having previously lived in the Balkans where yogurt was a dietary staple,
Carasso decided to introduce this healthy product in Barcelona. He opened a
small yogurt business named "Danone," meaning "Little Daniel" after his son.
Carasso was aware of scientific advances that had been made with fermented milk by Elie Metchnikoff
at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. He perfected the first industrial manufacturing process
by combining the traditional method of making yogurt with the pure cultures that had been
isolated in Paris. The younger Carasso, Daniel, learned the family business in Spain and
decided to establish Danone in France in 1929.
DANNON Comes to America
During World War II, Daniel Carasso immigrated to the United States. In 1942, he founded the
first American yogurt company, Dannon Milk Products, Inc., in the Bronx, NY. He changed
the name Danone to DANNON to make the brand sound more American. In 1943, Carasso met Joe
Metzger, who helped him with the administrative work of the new company.
DANNON faced a major hurdle at its inception - few Americans had ever tried yogurt,
then a staple in many European countries. Distribution was very limited at first and
was confined to the local New York area.
In 1947, a breakthrough came when DANNON introduced yogurt with strawberry fruit on the
bottom. This innovation appealed to Americans who found the sweetness of the fruit to be
the perfect complement for the tart taste of yogurt. Blueberry and raspberry fruit, as
well as orange and lemon flavors, were quickly added to the product line and started to
become the favorite yogurt of America.
The company grew rapidly, and in 1950, moved to
a larger facility in Long Island while expanding its sales area to Philadelphia and Boston.
DANNON then introduced a lowfat yogurt designed to appeal to health enthusiasts and dieters.
Changes for Dannon
In 1951, Daniel Carasso returned to Paris to manage the family's businesses in France
and Spain. He gave the management and the presidency of DANNON to Joe Metzger
(helped by his son Juan) with the objective of looking for an eventual buyer. Daniel
Carasso maintained regular contact with DANNON by frequent trips to America and regular
correspondence with the Metzgers. Dannon Milk Products Inc. was sold to Beatrice Foods in
1959 with unanimous consent of its board of directors.
During the 1960s, Beatrice
embarked on a rapid westward expansion of DANNON, acquiring a second manufacturing
facility in Minster, OH. In 1979, a plant was opened in Fort Worth, TX, and Dannon became the first perishable dairy product sold coast to coast.
While DANNON was growing in America, Daniel Carasso was leading Danone to rapid
development in Europe. To accelerate its diversification and world expansion,
Danone merged with Gervais, the leading fresh cheese business in France in 1967,
and with BSN, the leading glass container and beverages company, in 1973. The resulting
company, BSN Gervais Danone, became one of the world's largest food manufacturers present
in 30 countries worldwide. In 1994, BSN Gervais Danone took the name Groupe Danone.
Dannon Grows the American Market
In March 1986, DANNON moved its headquarters to White Plains, NY. During the next decade,
DANNON introduced new, highly successful products such as DANNON® Light, Blended,
Sprinkl'ins®, Danimals® and Double Delights.
Today, DANNON is one of America's
top two yogurt manufacturers.