Modern life is often one big bellyache after another – a fact that Dannon has capitalized on very successfully with its Activia brand. In the US, the Activia line of products plain and flavored yogurts containing the probiotic bacterium Bifidobacterium animalis DN 173 010 which Dannon in its advertising has shortened to “Bifidus Regularis” or “Bifidus Actiregularis.”
Dannon says the probiotic relieves upset stomachs and constipation. Not everyone agrees. A class action lawsuit alleging that Dannon overstated Activia’s benefits in its advertising was settled in 2009 when Dannon agreed to pony up a $35 million reimbursement fund. Today Dannon backs up its claims with a money-back guarantee. The Activia Challenge website also offers a coupon worth one dollar off the price of purchase to anyone who completes its registration process.
Six-ounce cartons of Activia are available in eight flavors: Strawberry, Vanilla, Blueberry, Mixed Berry, Prune, Plain, Strawberry Banana, Cherry and Peach. Six-ounce cartons of Activia Lite, a reduced calorie variant of Activia, are available in seven flavors: Strawberry, Vanilla, Peach, Blueberry, Strawberry Banana, Cherry and Raspberry. Unflavored and vanilla Activia are also available in 24-ounce cartons.
Dannon is the moniker by which the French food-products multinational Groupe Danone is known in the United States.
Groupe Danone, headquartered in Paris, France, is the largest producer of dairy products and bottled waters in the world, and the second largest baby food producer. Its yogurt brands include Actimel, Activia, Danone, Blédina, Dan-o-nino and Danimals; its bottled water holdings include Evian, Volvic and Badoit. In 2007, with the acquisition of Royal Numico, it gained ownership of baby food brands Cow & Gate and Milupa as well as advanced medical nutrition products Ketoca and Neocate.
History of Groupe Danone
Dannon was involved with intestinal issues right from the start, you might say.
The company began in Barcelona in 1919 when a doctor named Isaac Carasso sought to find a cure for his patients who were suffering from intestinal problems. Carasso had been born in Greece and knew that such problems were routinely treated with sour milk cultures in that part of the world. He began importing cultures from Bulgaria and using them to make yogurt. He founded a company he named Danone, using the Catalan nickname for Daniel, his oldest son’s name.
After Isaac died, Daniel took over the operations, opening a French factory in 1929. Daniel had gone school in France, enrolling at the prestigious Pasteur Institute to study bacteriology in an effort to learn more about yogurt.
The Carassos were members of a famous Sephardic Jewish family. When World War II broke out, Daniel Carasso fled the Nazis, eventually settling in the Bronx where he bought a small Greek yogurt company and began producing yogurt again under the Americanized name “Dannon.” The yogurt remained an esoteric, oddly flavored health food until he got the idea of adding strawberry jam to it. After that, sales took off. In 1951, Carasso returned to Europe.
Danone Groupe Today
Danone’s sales in 2005 were 5% more than what they were in 2008, with a spike of 9% in the fourth quarter – a solid performance at any time, but particularly remarkable at the height of an economic downturn when many food companies were losing market share. Analysts attribute this growth to something the company is calling internally its “reset” strategy: Danone has cut prices on some products, added more volume to others, and devised innovative extensions on existing brands. (One example: adding cereal to Activia in the United States, and calling it Activia Fiber.)
In 2010 the company hired model/TV personality Heidi Klum to be the face of Dannon Light & Fit while actress Jamie Lee Curtis is the face of Dannon Activia.
Danone International Prize For Nutrition
In 1997 the Danone Institute International – a nonprofit foundation funded by Groupe Danone – established The Danone International Prize for Nutrition, a biannual award for individuals or teams who have advanced nutritional science. The award carries a €120,000 stipend. In 2009, the prize was awarded to Professor Johan Auwerx from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (Switzerland) for his research into the hormone-like interactions between certain foods and body cells.
Dannon Activia Website Promotion
The Dannon Activia website invites users to take the “Activia Challenge” by eating Activia daily for two weeks in a row. If Activia doesn’t “regulate” their digestive system – a euphemism for “induce bowel movements – then the company will refund the price of purchase up to $12.
The Dannon Activia website also features a graphic of a coupon. If you click on that picture, you are taken to a webpage where you can register for e-newsletters from the site. In exchange for completing the registration process, users will receive a coupon good for a discount of one dollar off the purchase of any Activia product.
Other Dannon Activia Coupons
• WalMart: Final price for six-ounce containers of Dannon Activia is $0.43 apiece if you buy six and use the “$0.40 on six” coupon from the Smartsource insert.
• Harris Teeter: Final price for a four-pack of six-ounce Dannon Activia containers is one dollar if you use the one-dollar off coupon from the SS insert.
• Pathmark Simply Savings Book: Dannon Activia four pack $0.30 off one. Combine with discount coupons issued on a week-by-week basis in that same savings book for even greater savings.
• Target: Four-pack of six ounce Dannon Activia containers is $2 (regular price: $3.29)
• Printable $.50 off coupon for a four-pack of six ounce Dannon Activia containers that can be combined with store discounts available at http://print.coupons.com/couponweb