Ecotone Receives €20M, Becoming One of Biggest Plant-Based Beverage Players in Europe

Ecotone, the leader in organic, vegetarian and Fairtrade food for the European market, with a presence in six EU markets, announces a €20 million investment in its uber sustainable (read the impressive eco achievements below) plant-based beverage production site in Northern Italy, making it one of the largest plant-based drinks producers in Europe.

In 2019 Ecotone, headquartered in Lyon, became the first European food company to achieve B Corp certification. The company employs 1600 people and achieved a turnover of 725 million euros in 2021. Its brands include household names including Clipper and Whole Earth.

The investment has allowed the creation of a new production line, already in operation, with capabilities to produce an additional 27 million litres of plant-based beverages per year, creating 32 jobs. The factory, which produces organic plant-based drinks for brands including Bjorg, Bonneterre, Isola Bio, Abbott Kinney’s, and EcoCesta, now employs 163 people across a site that encompasses more than 14,000m2.

abbot kinney's milk
©Abbott Kinney’s

Site uses 100% renewable energy

Ecotone boasts some highly impressive sustainability credentials and states that its production site operates exclusively on renewable energies. The company reports that it has implemented sustainability measures including a system of “total circularity of water”, whereby industrial washing water is treated and then reused in agricultural production processes. A co-generator, which recovers energy from the factory’s production processes, also supplies the site with 40% of its power.

A reorganisation of the factory’s production workshop allows for the reduction of the use of plastic by 15% and optimises transport with the elimination of 58 tons of CO2. Ecotone uses the Badia Polesine site as a strategic location for close proximity to the production basins of its organic raw materials.

ecotone products
© Ecotone

The company reports that its factory produces 120 million litres of plant-based drinks per year, 50% of which are destined for France, where Ecotone generates 60% of its turnover. It also states that part of the latest investment has been dedicated to improving the factory’s energy performance.

Ecosystem & conservation efforts

Through its Foundation, the company supports ecosystem restoration and conservation projects. Additionally, as part of its mission of “Food for Biodiversity”, Ecotone relies on a vast network of more than 100 producers or 4,500 hectares of 100% organic cultivation, grown without any pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or synthetic fertilisers, throughout Italy.

© Ecotone

Ecotone says it is committed to developing agroecological practices to promote more biodiversity, such as hedge planting, crop rotation, and establishing hives, as well as the cultivation of more than 35 plant species.

Christophe Barnouin, CEO of Ecotone, comments: “This major investment aims to strengthen Ecotone’s industrial competitiveness in a growing market for plant-based beverages. With a strong presence throughout Europe, just like its brands, with nine production sites, including two in France, Ecotone is committed to its values and leading the way towards more innovation and sustainability in the food industry. I would like to pay tribute to the unwavering mobilization of the teams over the past three years, which has enabled the project to succeed and make the Badia Polesine factory a European industrial flagship.”    

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