Starbucks (SBUX) has announced a strategic partnership with French yogurt maker Danone, the world’s leading producer of fresh dairy products. In the coming years, the two companies intend to jointly develop specialty yogurt products for sale in Starbucks and grocery stores.
The products will include ready-to-eat parfait Greek yogurt, which is typically thicker and higher in protein than typical yogurt. The products will also be labeled under the Starbucks-owned Evolution Fresh label and will be branded “Evolution Fresh, inspired by Danon.” Yogurt products will reach Starbucks stores in Spring 2014 and supermarkets in 2015.
“We are energized by the strong customer response to Evolution Fresh offerings, and believe a strategic agreement with Danone, the world leader in fresh dairy products, affords us the perfect opportunity to grow - and elevate - the Evolution Fresh brand both in our stores and in CPG channels,” said CEO Howard Schultz.
The partnership is Starbucks’ latest move to offer a comprehensive beverage and food experience to customers. The company previously acquired juice-maker Evolution Fresh in November 2012, La Boulange Bakery in June 2012, and tea retailer Teavana in December 2012, all of which in the process of being integrated in Starbucks’ operations.
“Starbucks is committed to evolving and enhancing customer experience with innovative and wholesome food offerings,” said Schultz. “Today’s announcement underscores this commitment through the transformation of our existing yogurt offerings and our multi-year deal with Danone.”
Starbucks shares sold off on Tuesday despite the news, closing down two percent to $67.66. Shares are up 30 percent year-over-year.
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