Today, Business Review launches the #25×25 Interview Series powered by Schoenherr si Asociatii SCA, a special editorial project featuring 25 companies that have been in business in Romania for 25 years. BR will be interviewing leading businesses to discover the secrets to their remarkable success and longevity on the Romanian market. For the first episode, we take a look at a company founded more than 100 years ago by Isaac Carasso (pictured above), which has been striving to bring health through food in Romania for the past 25 years: Danone. For this purpose, Business Review sat down with Luiza Toma, External & Internal Communication Manager at DANONE.
Starting with a bit of historical background, what can you tell us about your company’s entry into Romania back in 1996 and about your industry as a whole back then?
Danone started its activity in Romania in 1996. In May 1999, the first Danone yogurt produced in Romania is brought ‚to life’. And this is how our journey begins. Today we produce 1 million products per day, we are collecting milk from Romanian farmers and small householders and we are active in three divisions: dairy and plant-based, baby food, medical nutrition.
How did your company navigate during all those years in Romania in terms of goals, achievements, challenges, and opportunities?
Our goals have been always the same: to bring health through food to as many people as possible and offer the best quality products, always in a sustainable way according to our philosophy: our planet resources are limited but people’s aren’t.
What is the proudest moment for your company in its 25-year history?
DANONE started more than 100 years ago with a dream, the dream of a small entrepreneur, Isaac Carasso, to improve and contribute to people’s health. And, throughout the years, thousands of amazing people this dream come true.
Danone started its activity in Romania in 1996 with 20 employees. Today we are 400; proud of our success moments, of course (the production of the first batches of yogurt, the day we became market leaders, the moment we launched the unique social project, Chance for All, dedicated to small local householders producing milk), but we are also proudest of our people who make our mission (to bring health to as many people as possible) real every day.
Moving into the present, how would you describe your company’s role in the current social and economic context?
Every day, people around the world make choices about the food they buy, eat and enjoy. Increasingly, they want healthier, simple foods produced in a sustainable way that taste great and that can be enjoyed on different occasions.
Since the first Danone yogurt was sold in pharmacies to help improve gut health 100 years ago, we have always been driven by the needs of people. We believe that it is also our role, as producers, to educate consumers to adopt balanced eating habits. And, in the same time, we strive to have a positive impact on our communities and the planet around us through our products and practices.
No one has a crystal ball, so we won’t ask about the next 25 years. But looking into the future, how do you see the road to 2030 for both your company and the industry you represent?
Yogurt is an amazing food, it is so full of nutrients, so good for your health and so tasty.
We wish to be in the daily habits of Romanians in the future, to have brought a positive impact on our consumer lifestyle and our environment through our sustainable efforts. One producer’s responsibility should not stop at the factory gate, but go much more beyond. In 2030 we hope we continue to inspire better choices and educate people to take balanced, informed decisions.