December 22, 2005

Dannon to launch Activia yogurt in U.S. in January

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dannon Co. Inc., the U.S. unit of
France's Groupe Danone said on Thursday it will launch its
Activia yogurt in the United States next month -- a product it
says improves digestive health.

The dairy products company said it is expecting Activia, a
so-called pro-biotic yogurt that contains special bacteria it
says can help regulate the digestive system if eaten daily for
two weeks, to expand the overall U.S. yogurt market, currently
estimated at about $2.5 billion a year.

Michael Neuwirth, a Dannon spokesman, told Reuters that
global sales of Activia had grown 24 percent a year for the
past four years, far outpacing the growth of the overall U.S.
yogurt market, which is growing about 6 percent to 7 percent a

Neuwirth said about 16 percent of Americans eat yogurt more
than once a week, compared to about 77 percent in France and
about 64 percent in Spain.

More functional yogurt products could increase the number
of consumers since it has an added benefit beyond basic
nutrition, Neuwirth said.

Activia, which is already sold in about 25 countries, had
2004 sales of about 650 million euros, or just under 5 percent
of the company's total net sales.