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December 16: His Father’s Yogurt

December 16, 2014
1242770402_740215_0000000000_noticia_normalDaniel Carasso, whose father Isaac created a yogurt in Barcelona, 1919, and named it after his son’s Catalan nickname, Danone, was born in Salonica in the Ottoman Empire on this date in 1905. Carasso’s family had lived in Greece for four centuries following the expulsion from Spain, but returned to Spain when Daniel was 11. In 1923, he enrolled in business school in France and studied bacteriology at the Pasteur Institute. In 1939, he took over the family yogurt business, which he brought to the U.S. when he fled from the Nazis in 1941. In 1947, the company added strawberry jam to its yogurt, and it quickly became America’s most successful yogurt product. Carasso returned to France a decade later, and died there in Paris at the age of 103. Groupe Danone is today one of France’s largest food conglomerates, with sales of $19 billion in 2008. “My dream,” said Carasso on the company’s 90th anniversary, “was to make Danone a worldwide brand.” “Although a traditional food in Greece, the Middle East, southeastern Europe and large parts of Asia, [yogurt] was known elsewhere only to a small population of health faddists. Early on, Danone was marketed as a health food and sold by prescription through pharmacies. Gradually it found favor as a milk product that did not spoil in the heat.” —William Grimes, New York Times