Danone has announced that it will launch a new business unit devoted to the growth of plant-based products, as the company aims to increase its global plant-based sales from €2 billion in 2019 to around €5 billion by 2025.

The company – which owns and operates major plant-based brands including Alpro and Silk – announced that Francisco Camacho will lead the new Plant-based Acceleration Unit, in addition to his current role as executive vice-president of Danone’s Essential Dairy and Plant-Based (EDP) International unit.

EDP North America is Danone’s largest business unit, and Danone has announced that the unit will now “be recognised as a separate business” to strengthen the local focus of the business. As a result of this, former Coca-Cola executive Shane Grant has been appointed as executive vice-president and CEO of Danone North America, effective from 11 May 2020.

According to Danone, the Plant-based Acceleration Unit will seek to expand into new categories such as coffee, but will also leverage Danone’s plant-based expertise in categories such as baby food and healthy ageing food solutions, and by pivoting more of its large brands into the plant-based sector.

The Unit will also reportedly aim to increase the growth of plant-based products outside of North America.

Emmanuel Faber, Danone Chairman and CEO, said: “I am grateful to our global and North American EDP teams for the great work achieved over the last three years in integrating WhiteWave and our Dairy business in the USA and Canada.

“With a sequential acceleration of sales growth, and the targeted $300m synergies already secured, we believe it is the right moment for Danone North America to start another exciting phase of development and to fully participate, as the largest B Corp in the world, to Danone’s sustainable value creation agenda, while deploying our ‘One Planet. One Health’ framework of action.

“I am deeply thankful for Francisco Camacho’s and the EDP team for steering and supporting the successful integration phase, and delighted to welcome Shane Grant as the new leader for Danone North America, as a member of our Danone Comex team. I am also convinced that, as our large countries are now entering into a lasting Covid-19 recovery phase, this increased regional focus will be instrumental to adjust and execute our strategies to the local policies and realities.”

Danone’s recently-released first-quarter results were stronger than expected, and the company’s EDP unit experienced a net sales rise of 4.6% for the first-quarter of the year, thanks in part to the strong performance of its Alpro brand in Europe and Silk in North America.