Unilever announces biggest ever investment in ice cream category

Unilever today unveiled plans to shake up the ice cream market and strengthen its global leadership by boosting its €5 billion global ice cream business.

Unilever today unveiled plans to shake up the ice cream market and strengthen its global leadership by boosting its €5 billion global ice cream business.

The announcement marked the biggest and most extensive programme in the history of ice cream. The company announced a much more prominent role for its Heartbrand and committed to investing up to an additional 20% in marketing and development over the next three years, corresponding to a figure of around 100 million euro. Unilever intends to change the way consumers view ice cream as part of its ‘Path to Growth’ strategy.

Unilever’s joint Chairman Antony Burgmans said: "We are starting from a position of significant strength having grown our ice cream business by 4% last year. As the global market leader we identified huge potential for growth within the ice cream industry. With a market share of 17% there is plenty of room for profitable growth. We have the ambition, imagination and the confidence to back our plans with significant investment".

Global Ice Cream president Robert Polet said: "We are moving with the change in consumer lifestyles and trends. To achieve this we will present our Heart brand OLa (Wall’s in the UK, Algida in Italy and Langnese in Germany) in an entirely new way, creating a powerful brand that will unify our ice cream products. Unilever today sets out to offer consumers fun ice cream experiences that allow them to break away from hectic modern day life".Initiatives

The consumer will experience a complete new look and feel of the Heart brand Ola (Wall’s in the UK, Algida in Italy and Langnese in Germany) this summer, as Unilever ice cream changes all of its European packaging and promotional materials to communicate the new brand world to consumers. A pan-European marketing campaign has been developed around the Heart brand to further build its values and credentials amongst consumers. This will include a significant European TV advertising campaign that will build the new brand positioning and feature its well-known brands such as Cornetto, Magnum and Solero.

Another important element of the campaign is associating the Heart brand with music. Today Unilever announced a partnership with MTV called ‘Shakedown’, which will entail the launch of the biggest dance talent competition there has ever been in Europe alongside of music events.

Unilever ice cream Ola (Wall’s in the UK, Algida in Italy and Langnese in Germany) demonstrated they will be building on past successes by unveiling the next generation of ice cream vans. The prototype van, which includes a specialist DJ area, sound system and interactive plasma screens, will be touring Europe this summer.

On the product side, Unilever follows up on consumer trends by coming up with soft ice cream at home, a breakthrough innovation made possible thanks to new Unilever technology.

Picking up on trends that are already happening in other regions around the world, Unilever is looking into the development of savoury ice cream, like curry or cheese, taking such concepts out of the exclusivity of a chef’s kitchen and bringing it to a wider audience. Unilever is already talking with some of the world’s leading chefs for the development of such ranges.

Many of the new developments will feature in the newly launched ice cream bars, that build on consumer trends of "freshly made" and "customisation", where consumers will be able to have fun in creating their own ice cream. Over 90 heart branded ice cream bars are about to open across Europe this year.

Other initiatives unveiled today include the presentation of a new clothing and accessories range, connecting the summer fun feeling of the brand with beach wear and fun items. The Heart Collection includes amongst others bikini’s, leisure tops, men’s shorts and bags and is available via the newly developed web site.

Kees van der Graaf, president of Unilever’s European ice cream business concluded: "The future of ice cream is all about offering the consumer relevant and exciting experiences that are delivering fun, choice and delicious taste".

The Heart brand operates under different names in various markets, Wall’s in the UK, Algida in Italy, Langnese in Germany and Ola in the Netherlands, etc. and will continue to do so. The Hearbrand includes well known brands like Magnum, Cornetto and Solero.

Ice cream contributes 20% to Unilever’s food portfolio and 10% to the total portfolio.

Additional information

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Unilever NV

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+31 (0) 10 217 4000

Safe harbour statement

This news release may contain forward-looking statements (within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act 1995). Any forward-looking statements are based on current expectations with respect to important risk factors. It is important to note that the actual results could materially differ from the results anticipated in any forward-looking statements which may be contained in this presentation. Factors which might cause forward-looking statements to differ materially from actual results include, among other things, the failure to complete the sale of DiverseyLever, changes in the financing markets, delays associated with regulatory approvals for the sale, overall economic, political, social and business conditions, the demand for our goods and services, competition in the market, fluctuations in interest rates and foreign currencies, the impact and other uncertainties of the sale of DiverseyLever or future acquisitions and disposals and any changes in the tax laws and other legislation and regulation, in the jurisdictions in which we operate.

We do not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in or incorporated in this news release to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or in other factors which may affect any forward-looking statements.

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