Danone backs bottled Hawaiian ocean water brand Kona Deep



The
logo of French food group Danone is seen during a news conference
to present the company’s 2015 annual results in
Paris

Thomson
Reuters


By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS (Reuters) – Evian and Volvic owner Danone has put money
into a Hawaiian bottled water from the bottom of the Pacific
Ocean, showing the depths multinationals will now go to in the
quest to stand out.

The investment in Kona Deep, for an undisclosed sum, is the fifth
in a year for Danone Manifesto Ventures, a fund the French food
giant set up last year to invest in entrepreneurial companies,
which are eating away at the dominance of big brands.

Kona Deep sources its water from a deep ocean current off the
coast of Hawaii. The two-year-old company says its water has a
unique blend of naturally occurring electrolytes and minerals
that make it extra-hydrating.

Danone , the world’s No. 3 bottled water company, is one of nine
food giants to set up such a fund recently.

A case of 12 1-litre bottles of Kona Deep can be found online for
$33, nearly triple the price of a case of Evian.

After being pumped through a pipe that reaches 3,000 feet below
the ocean’s surface, Kona Deep desalinates the water using
reverse osmosis, and bottles it.

Danone did not give details about the environmental impact of the
process, but said on Tuesday ocean water was a renewable source
and that Kona Deep sources it in a “responsible and sustainable
manner.”

Kona Deep can benefit from Danone’s experience with eco-friendly
packaging and community management, it added.

Danone is taking a minority stake as part of Kona Deep’s $5.5
million capital raising effort, which also includes private
equity firm Grand Crossing Capital and local Hawaiian investors.

The brand has recently expanded from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland
and plans to use the funds to expand distribution and production
capacity.

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