Promoting Better Diets & Lifestyles

Targeted marketing and communications can raise awareness, promote behaviour change and encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyles.

How we promote better diets and lifestyles

One way in which we aim to encourage behaviour change is through the creation of engaging campaigns that educate and identify how individuals can exercise a positive choice in their lifestyle. Unilever’s Five Levers for Change(Link opens in a new window) ( 2.4MB ) informs our approach. This practical tool is a coherent set of principles, designed to increase the effectiveness of our behaviour change interventions. It brings together our experience over many years.

Behaviour Change for Better Health symposium

Creating a sustainable future will require fundamental changes in attitudes and behaviours across society. Acknowledging this challenge, public health and behaviour change experts joined Unilever scientists, technologists, marketers and management at the ‘Behaviour Change for Better Health’ symposium in June 2012. Together, they discussed how to encourage consumers to make positive changes in nutrition, hygiene and sustainability.

The same title ‘Behaviour Change for Better Health’ was used for a Unilever conference in Brazil in October 2012 and a workshop at the International Congress of Nutrition in Spain in September 2013.

A key learning from these conferences was that a range of health influencers, including the food industry, have complementary roles to play in changing behaviours for better health.

Seductive Nutrition

People enjoy healthy eating at home. Our research shows they would like healthier options when they eat out too.

Since 2012 Unilever Food Solutions has been working with restaurant chefs and operators around the world through its Seductive Nutrition programme. which helps chefs to make their menus healthier and appealing using our products and advice. The programme enables restaurateurs to tap into consumer demand and increase revenues, whilst also contributing to public health.

Working with food experts and industry-specific bodies like the Culinary Institute of America, our Seductive Nutrition workshops allow us to demonstrate the positive effect of recipe changes, such as increasing the amount of vegetables, using healthy cooking methods, like grilling and baking, and adapting portion sizes. We also collaborate with operators on how to maximize the appeal of dishes with enticing menu descriptions.

By the end of 2013, in the US alone, chefs in 8,500 locations had pledged to remove 1.9 billion calories from their menus. In Mexico, Seductive Nutrition is actively applied in top-selling dishes and in France for school meal recipes. In Myanmar we created healthier recipes with chefs for the Southeast Asian Games, a big sporting event.

Making good habits delicious

In the US, our spreads business partnered with the influential Dietetic Practice Group (SCAN) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to publish ‘10 Simple Steps to Make Good Habits More Delicious: The Dietitian-Approved Guide to Applying the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 10 Simple Steps.’

The outcome was a consumer-friendly guide, which directly incorporated our brands Country Crock and I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter into the recommendations, key messages and branded recipes.

The guide provided registered dietitians with a tool to deepen consumer engagement. They endorsed and delivered the guide directly to consumers at a variety of venues, including pharmacies, supermarkets, health fairs and expos, hospitals, fitness clubs and doctors’ offices.

The guide has been a very popular resource with dietitians: in less than three years 800,000 printed guides have been distributed to consumers and the online guide has received over 40,000 online page views.

Promoting health and nutrition to children

Healthy eating habits and active lifestyles need to start as early as possible in life. A balanced diet and lifestyle can help children to reach their full potential. The effects of poor nutrition at a young age can have lifelong implications.

One example of an education programme designed for children is A Perfect Fit. This is a partnership between Unilever Israel, the Israeli Ministries of Health and Education and various paediatric, dietetic and education associations to foster healthy eating habits for life. This educational programme has been running for more than 10 years. It has been implemented in 1,500 primary schools and 2,500 kindergartens. Involving teachers, students and nutrition experts, the partnership promotes the benefits of a healthy breakfast and a healthy lifestyle.

The effects have been validated by three scientific researchers. For example, the number of children having breakfast increased from 68% to 77% in a couple of years. The programme is now in its 12th year. More information is available in Hebrew at opens in a new window).