Innovation in Unilever

Innovation is at the heart of Unilever’s ambition to grow sustainably. Science, Technology and Product Development are central to our plans to keep providing consumers with brands that improve their lives while having a positive impact on the environment and society.

Finding new ways to grow sustainably

Innovation will solve some of the greatest challenges facing our world

Unilever Archives

Unilevers historic Port Sunlight

Uncover more of our innovations from over the years.

All our innovations are based on key insights into consumers’ needs and wants. We aim to develop products that have purpose and that consumers choose again and again.

We work on a wide portfolio of projects, combining the search for breakthrough technologies with the constant drive to respond to consumer demands, move into new markets, and make our products more sustainable.

To do this, we assemble key consumer trends, leading-edge science, and the application of data and digital technology to deliver extraordinary products, services and experiences. Our investment in safe science underpins our leadership on alternatives to animal testing, while our understanding of latest bioscience is leading to breakthroughs for consumer hygiene and microbiome care.

The products we develop, whether by ourselves or in partnership with leading scientists, academic institutions, suppliers and specialist businesses, play an essential role in our ambition to make a positive impact on the world around us.

Research at our world-class facilities

We innovate across eight key global R&D centres in six countries (US, UK, Netherlands, Italy, India and China). Ourglobal centres of excellence powered by our world class technology ecosystems, such as the Foods Innovation Centre in Wageningen, Netherlands.

Our research aims to bring together the best thinking and ideas - from wherever they exist including with universities and strategic companies - to innovate boldly for people and the planet. We have a strong record of breakthrough innovations – disruptive technologies that meet consumer needs better than any available alternatives and which can make a big impact.

Innovating for people and the planet

Unilever R&D employs more than 5,000 professionals to build our brands through innovation. We invest around €1 billion in R&D each year, and we hold a portfolio of more than 20,000 patents and patent applications.

Sustainability and protecting the planet underpins everything we do. Our long-term science and technology programmes focus exclusively on technologies that have a positive sustainability benefit and deliver superior experiences to our consumers. We are using our significant scale and sense of purpose to accelerate the transformation of the industry towards renewable and biodegradable ingredients and formats. This includes early industry leadership on plastic waste and ambitious commitments to abandon the use of fossil fuels in products and use 100% renewable energy in our operations by 2030.