In discussing the deal with BevNET, analysts and experts in the organic grocery space noted that while the deal was ostensibly about freeing Danone to secure the bigger prize of acquiring WhiteWave, it also affirms the long-term value of a strong organic brand.
Gary Hirshberg, the co-founder and chairman of dairy company Stonyfield Farm and a highly influential figure in the organic food movement, shares war stories ranging from the company’s pastoral beginnings, to its decade-long struggle for financing, and on to its eventual sale, mining them for wisdom that will resonate with any food and beverage professional.
He's been a standard-bearer for the organic success story for years, as well as a mentor to Honest Tea co-founder Seth Goldman, but Stonyfield founder Gary Hirshberg announced today that he's handing day-to-day operations over to former Ben & Jerry's CEO Walt Freese. Hirshberg's sale of Stonyfield to Danone in 2003 -- and subsequent operation of the company as a unit with autonomy within that larger company -- is largely seen as a model for Goldman's sale of Honest Tea to the Coca-Cola Co. last year.
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