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Eyeing US market, Danone adds YoCrunch to shopping cart

Danone buys YoCrunch.
Source: YoCrunch
Danone buys YoCrunch.

French foods group Danone has bought YoCrunch, a U.S. firm which makes yogurts with toppings such as Reese's peanut butter candy, M&M's, and Oreo cookies, as it continues to grow its share of the $7 billion U.S. yogurt market.

YoCrunch has net annual sales of $110 million and has had steady double-digit percentage growth in recent years, making it the leading U.S. supplier of yogurts with mix-in toppings, Danone said on Friday, without saying how much it paid for the business.

The acquisition follows a deal between Danone and Starbucks announced last month to sell co-branded yogurt through Starbucks cafes and in grocery stores.

(Read more: Food stock feast: Still room at the table for new investors?)

Danone, which already has 30 percent of the U.S. market through its Dannon, Activia, Stonyfield Farm and Danimals brands, is betting on growing demand among U.S. consumers who eat far less yogurt than Europeans.

The U.S. retail market for yogurt has grown an average 8.5 percent per year over the last five years, according to sales tracking firm Euromonitor International. While that rate is seen slowing to 5.9 percent in the next five, it is still double the expected growth of packaged food overall.

Danone shares were little changed following the news. They are up some 18 percent this year. (Click here to track Danone stock.)

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