April 23, 2024
Bottling Boost
Danone is adding a bottle production line to its Jacksonville plant.

Photo: Google

Bottling Boost
The University of Florida has received a $5-million federal grant to study how to help cows release less methane gas when they burp. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations, a fully developed cow can emit up to 500 liters of methane each day, which accounts for approximately 3.7% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo: UF

Bottling Boost
Dawn Lockhart was named CEO of the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida. She was formerly the director of strategic partnerships for the city of Jacksonville and CEO of Family Foundations of Jacksonville.

Photo: Nonprofit Center Of Northeast Florida

Bottling Boost
Sporting JAX will be the abbreviated name for Jacksonville's new professional soccer franchise. Owners include former Jacksonville Jaguars Fred Taylor and Tim Tebow.

Photo: Sporting JAX

Bottling Boost
Civil rights leader Lloyd Pearson passed away in December at age 102.

Photo: Courtesy of Lloyd Pearson

Northeast Florida Roundup

Bottling Boost

Vanessa Caceres | 3/20/2024


The food and beverage company Danone is expected to complete the addition of a $65-million bottle production line at its Jacksonville plant by the end of this year that will add an estimated 40 jobs for the company.

Danone North America currently employs 110 people in Jacksonville; it’s based in Broomfield, Colo., and White Plains, N.Y. Danone is based in Paris.

With the bottle line addition, the company should be able to boost production of U.S.-based coffee and creamer brands such as International Delight and Silk. Mike Sloboda, COO for Danone North America, says the investment will provide U.S.-based customers better access to its products.

Other common Danone North America brands include Activia, DanActive, Oikos and YoCrunch.

The Jacksonville City Council awarded Danone a $3.1-million property tax rebate, and the company also received a $500,000 completion grant from the Northwest Economic Development Fund.

“This is another significant advanced manufacturing project in the Jacksonville region, and we appreciate Danone continuing to invest here,” says Aundra Wallace, president of JAXUSA, the regional development division of JAX Chamber.


  • Dee’s Nuts of Jacksonville has won a trademark infringement lawsuit against Feastables, owned by Jimmy Donaldson, who’s known as MrBeast on YouTube. Donaldson’s Feastables sells chocolate bars and named one of the flavors “Deez Nuts,” which the Jacksonvillebased company argued infringes on the copyright it uses to sell flavored peanuts. A federal judge issued a permanent injunction against the use of the urban slang term by Feastables for the sale of its chocolate bars.


  • The University of Florida’s strategic funding initiative has given $1 million to the school’s Transforming Stroke Care initiative, which brings together investigators from various disciplines to accelerate stroke research and help improve treatments. The initiative will combine basic and clinical research along with artificial intelligence.


  • Jennifer L. Hunt was appointed interim dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine. She has been chair of the college’s department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine as well as UF Health Shands chief of staff. An internationally known head and neck and molecular pathologist, Hunt joined UF in 2020 from the University of Arkansas.
  • The University of Florida will collaborate with Concept Companies and Trimark Properties to develop a 13-acre tract that is part of Gainesville’s Innovation District. The project will include space for life sciences, biotech, healthcare as well as apartments and shops. Construction will begin later this year and take place over six phases.


  • Landstar System of Jacksonville has named Frank A. Lonegro as its president and CEO. He replaces James B. Gattoni, who will serve as a special advisor to the CEO until his planned retirement in July. Most recently, Lonegro was an executive vice president and CFO at Beacon Building Products in Virginia.


  • The First Coast Cultural Center has moved to a 6,000-sq.-ft. building in Ponte Vedra Beach that it purchased for $2.2 million.


  • The Acosta Group, a Jacksonville- based sales and marketing agency, has received a $141.25-million contract to stock the shelves of Navy Exchanges. Under the five-year contract, Acosta will obtain food, drink and personal care items for resale.


  • The Jacksonville 95ers, the city’s new professional basketball team, will begin to play in The Basketball League this month and will use Jacksonville University’s Swisher Gym for home games.
  • The St. Johns County Police Athletic League will open a 37-acre kids’ sports complex by next year in Elkton. It will include three football fields and a track in its initial $8-million phase but eventually will accommodate other sports, including soccer and baseball.


“You cannot hate people because they are not like you. You cannot hate people. You have to love everybody, but you can hate what they do and try to make things better.”

— Advice from Jacksonville civil rights leader Lloyd Pearson to his daughter Barbara Pearson-McCreary. Born in the city in 1921, Pearson registered more than 35,000 people to vote over the course of his life. He also took part in the March on Washington in 1963 and was active with the NAACP in the 1980s and 1990s. He died in December at age 102.

Tags: Northeast, Manufacturing/Distribution

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