Isaac Carasso

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Isaac Carasso (1874 – April 19, 1939) was a member of the prominent Sephardic Jewish Carasso family (Karasu) of Ottoman Salonica (modern Thessaloniki, Greece). After emigrating to Barcelona, he started a yogurt factory which later became Groupe Danone.

Carasso was born in Salonica in 1874. In 1912, with the unrest of the Balkan Wars and the approach of Greek troops, he moved his family to Barcelona.

He noticed that many young children suffered from digestive and intestinal problems. Inspired by the work of Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov, who had popularized sour milk as a health food, and recalling that such health conditions were treated with yogurt in the Balkans, Ottoman Empire he imported cultures from Bulgaria[1] or used "pure cultures that had been isolated in Paris" at Mechnikov's laboratory at the Institut Pasteur.[2] Since yogurt was not well known then in Western Europe, he initially sold it as a medicine, through pharmacies.

He founded the company which would later become Groupe Danone in Barcelona in 1919 when he opened a small yogurt business named "Danone", a variation on the Catalan nickname of his son, Daniel. Carasso perfected the first industrial process for making yogurt.[3]

His son Daniel Carasso took over the family business in Spain and established Danone in France and the United States (Dannon).[4]

Isaac Carasso died in France in 1939.


  1. ^ Kenneth W. Bailey, Marketing and Pricing of Milk and Dairy Products in the United States, Blackwell 1997, ISBN 0-8138-2750-7
  2. ^ Dannon Web site Archived 2007-03-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ THOMAS FULLER International Herald Tribune (July 22, 2005). "Danone Plays Down Rumor of a Takeover by PepsiCo". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
  4. ^ Grimes, William (2009-05-20). "Daniel Carasso, a Pioneer of Yogurt, Dies at 103". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-10-25.