From Simple Beginnings: Isaac Carasso And The First Danone Yogurt

The story of Danone yogurt spans over a hundred years of revolutionary change around the world. Its origins can be traced back to just a single family: the Carasso family.


Isaac Carasso brought his wife and three children to Spain, his ancestral home, in 1916 from his birthplace of Thessaloniki in Greece. Isaac was instantly struck by the levels of malnutrition and disease among local children. Concerned for their health, and thinking of his own son Daniel, he set out to make a difference.

Inspired by the research of biologist and Nobel prize-winner Ilya Mechnikov into dairy ferments at the Pasteur Institute, Isaac mixed fresh milk with ferments to create what became the first Danone yogurt – a food common in the country of his birth, but at this stage foreign to the Spanish market. He sold his yogurt in porcelain pots which he hand-delivered as a health food to pharmacies across the city.

To officially register it as a brand, Isaac affectionately adopted the Catalan diminutive of his son’s name, ‘Danon’. He added an ‘e’, since at that time, it was unthinkable to name a product after a person!

Two decades later, during which Danone grew rapidly in popularity, Daniel joined the family business. Leaving the expansion of the Spanish market to his father, Daniel headed to France to pursue his studies at business school in Marseille, before studying at the Pasteur Institute. Daniel opened the first retail outlet on the rue Andre Messager in Paris, introducing Danone yogurt to people all over France.

In 1939, having laid the foundations for the global company that we know today, Isaac passed away. Together, father and son had successfully grown their project from one simple yogurt to a global business. They had managed to popularise yogurt as a household staple under the Danone brand in Europe.

In 1941, Daniel and his wife settled across the Atlantic in New York. With the help of American friends, he bought a small yogurt shop from an old Greek couple in the Bronx. Identifying a niche, he adapted his yogurt for local tastes by adding a layer of fruit jam. Once again, his yogurt business grew rapidly to become a reference in quality and taste.

Eventually, Daniel returned home to Europe, determined as ever to bring his natural and simple food to people everywhere. 

Father and son’s commitment to using simple recipes and processes, founded in scientific research, established the values we live by today. 100 years on, the legacy of the Carasso family is reflected in our commitment to inspire better choices through an expansive portfolio of healthy and diverse products.

Our simple aim remains the same: to bring health through food to as many people as possible. Today, this commitment is reflected in our One Planet One Health vision, aimed at nurturing the adoption of healthier, more sustainable eating and drinking habits.