Unilever sets bold new Future Foods ambition

  • Unilever commits to halving food waste and raising nutritional standards across its brands.
  • Targets announced are part of Unilever’s new ‘Future Foods’ initiative, aiming to support a fairer, healthier, and more sustainable global food system.
Unilever’s ‘Future Foods’ initiative image

Mumbai, November 18, 2020 - Unilever today announced a new set of targets for its global Foods and Refreshment business. The targets are part of Unilever’s ‘Future Foods’ ambition, launched today with two key objectives: to help people transition towards healthier diets and to help reduce the environmental impact of the food chain.

The global commitments include:

  • Halving food waste in Unilever’s direct operations from factory to shelf by 2025 – five years earlier than previously committed as part of the Champions 12.3 target.
  • Doubling the number of products delivering positive nutrition - defined as products containing impactful amounts of vegetables, fruits, proteins, or micronutrients like vitamins, zinc, iron and iodine - by 2025.
  • Continued lowering of calorie, salt and sugar levels across all products.
    • 85% of Unilever’s Foods portfolio will support a diet providing a maximum of 5g of salt intake a day by 2022 1. In packaged Ice Cream, 95% of products will contain no more than 22g of total sugar and 250 Kcal per serving by 2025.
  • In addition to the above commitments, Unilever also announced a global sales target of €1 billion from its plant-based meat and dairy alternatives business that is present in several Unilever countries outside India, within the next five to seven years. This growth in plant-based alternatives is anticipated through offerings such as The Vegetarian Butcher and vegan alternatives from brands including Hellmann’s, Magnum and Wall’s.

Hanneke Faber, President of Unilever’s Foods & Refreshment division, says, “These are bold, stretching targets, but as one of the world’s largest food companies, we simply must contribute to transforming the global food system. It’s not up to us to decide for people what they want to eat, but it is up to us to make healthier and plant-based options accessible to all’.

Explaining how the global targets address several issues in India, Sudhir Sitapati, Executive Director Foods and Refreshment, Hindustan Unilever Limited said, “Through the new commitments we aim to create healthier and fortified foods that will address the challenges of unbalanced diet and micronutrient deficiency in India.

Despite over producing food calories, India still faces three big challenges of nutrition – not enough calories for the poor, unsafe eating out and a diet excessive in carbohydrates but deficient in protein and micronutrients. India has a disproportionately high prevalence of health issues like wasting & stunting, anaemia and diarrhoea caused by unbalanced nutrition and an unhygienic environment.

As India’s leading Foods and Refreshment company, which spends around 25% of all food advertising on television in India, HUL will help lead a food processing revolution in the country that is healthier, safer and has less wastage. The new nutrition portfolio including Horlicks and Boost, our latest launch of Hellmann’s along with our purpose driven brands such as Kissan, Knorr and Brooke Bond Red Label will lead these commitments through innovations and communication.”

It is widely recognised that the current global food system is inequitable and inefficient. One billion people around the world are hungry 2 while two billion are obese or overweight 3. One third of all food produced is thrown away 4 .

Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow And Director, Food Loss And Waste at World Resources Institute:
“Food loss and waste has massive impacts in terms of cost to the global economy, the environment and society. We know that food loss and waste contributes about 8% of global greenhouse emissions as well as wasting the land and water used in production of food. We need as many companies as possible to step up and prioritise the issue of food loss and waste and take action to reduce it. It is great to see Unilever showing this sort of leadership. Given the size and reach of Unilever, their commitment to halve food loss and waste across their global operations will undoubtedly lead others to take action as well.”

Unilever’s new targets support commitments the company made earlier: achieving a deforestation-free supply chain; moving to 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by 2025; investing €1 billion in a new Climate & Nature Fund; and supporting net-zero emissions for all products by 2039. It also follows a 2019, €85M investment in ‘The Hive’, a foods innovation centre at Wageningen University in the Netherlands to support research into plant-based ingredients and meat alternatives, efficient crops, sustainable food packaging and nutritious food.

1 WHO recommends that adults consume less than 5 g (just under a teaspoon) of salt per day.

2 Oxfam study: a billion people hungry

3 More than two billion people overweight or obese

4 One third of world’s food is wasted

5 FAO Report

Notes to Editors

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. It has 150,000 employees and generated sales of €52 billion in 2019. Over half of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has around 400 brands found in homes all over the world, including Dove, Knorr, Dirt Is Good, Rexona, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, Lux, Magnum, Axe, Sunsilk and Surf.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) underpins the company’s strategy and commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.

The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands delivered 78% of total growth and 75% of turnover in 2019.

Since 2010 we have been taking action through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being, halve our environmental footprint and enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business. We have made significant progress and continue to expand our ambition – in 2019 committing to ensure 100% of our plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognised in 2019 as sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and in 2020 - for the tenth-consecutive year - as the top ranked company in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders survey.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com.

For more information on the USLP: www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/

About HUL

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is India's largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods Company with a heritage of over 85 years in India. On any given day, nine out of ten Indian households use our products to feel good, look good and get more out of life, giving us a unique opportunity to build a brighter future. For more information visit www.hul.com.

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