We reduce calories in our ice creams and make sure they stay just as delicious and appealing.
Tackling obesity by reducing calorie intake
We recognise that energy intake should be managed, in line with recommendations from organisations such as the World Health Organization. One way that people can manage their energy intake is by lowering the number of calories they eat each day. We offer reduced calorie options in a range of our products, such as our spreads, mayonnaise and salad dressings. However, our biggest efforts are focused on reducing calories in our ice creams.
Reducing calories across our ice creams
We are the world’s leading ice cream company, selling much-loved brands such as Wall’s, Magnum, Cornetto, Ben & Jerry’s, Max, Paddle Pop and Popsicle.
We know that treats contribute to well-being and pleasure in life, so it is important that we lower calories in our ice creams without losing their great taste.
In 2014, we achieved our target for all our children’s ice creams to contain 110 kilocalories (kcals) or less per serving.
We applied our learnings to all our packaged ice cream portfolio, and in 2015 met our target to ensure that at least 80% of our packaged ice creams do not exceed 250 kcals per portion.1 In 2016, 91% of our packaged ice creams did not exceed 250 kcals per portion. See Targets & Performance.
We want to take calorie and sugar reduction even further and are reviewing how we can do this. It will not be easy as we will need to invest significant efforts in portfolio reconfiguration and reformulation, as well as continuous investment in technology to ensure we continue to create delicious, enjoyable products.
Smaller portions offer more choice
As well as reducing calories, we also sell mini versions of our much loved ice cream brands. Magnum Mini is on sale in 41 countries worldwide – that’s around three-quarters of the countries where we sell our regular size version. And our Mini Cornetto is available in 15 countries, including India where we launched a Mini variety multi-pack in 2017.
In 2016, we reduced Ben & Jerry’s single serving tubs from 150ml to 100ml in the UK, while successfully maintaining sales. For example, Ben & Jerry’s 150ml Cookie Dough was reduced from 300 kilocalories per serving to 193 kilocalories per serving.
In Turkey we launched Mini Nogger 60ml (85 kilocalories per portion) alongside the regular size of 145ml (230 kilocalories per portion).
Our progress on children’s ice creams
From research in Turkey, Indonesia and the UK, we know that parents look for small portions of treats to give their children. We also know they can sometimes struggle to find suitably sized options. So to give parents a wider choice for their children, we offer a range of portion sizes across our children’s ice cream portfolio, and are working to expand this. For example, in Australia 2015 saw the launch of Paddle Pop Milk in a mini 35g size (50 kilocalories) as well as a standard 54g (77 kilocalories) for banana flavour, and Calippo in a mini 62g tube (53 kilocalories) as well as a 105g tube (90 kilocalories).
We are also looking to expand the proportion of our children’s ice creams that have 12g of sugar per portion or less – in 2016 this reached 65%.
Consumer research tells us that besides portion size, calorie and sugar content, when choosing an ice cream for their children, parents look for wholesome ingredients such as milk or fruit, and nutrients associated with these ingredients. We already sell some products that are rich in calcium, such as Mini Milk and Paddle Pop yogurt, and we plan to increase the number of products in this category.
Our ice creams can be a delicious and responsible treat
We regularly talk to health influencers across the globe about our products and future strategy. This keeps us in touch with the latest thinking on nutrition and ensures our products fit people’s changing expectations. We want health influencers and parents to understand that ice cream can be a responsible treat.
During 2016, we attended Thailand’s Congress of Nutrition and Public Health Nutrition, and spoke to more than 950 health influencers. Over 80% highly agreed that our kids’ ice cream nutrition criteria are responsible and highly recommend that parents or teachers could give school aged children Paddle Pop ice cream as an occasional treat.
During National Children's Day 2016 in Thailand, we ran an event to help parents understand that our children’s ice creams, which all contain fewer than 110 kcals per portion, can be part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
We used our Fun Foods Game to teach them about responsible snack choices. In a questionnaire, 89% of these parents said they felt confident selecting our Paddle Pop ice cream as a good choice for an occasional snack for school aged children.
In 2016, our consumer research in Spain, involving 1,000 parents, showed that 73% agreed that ice cream can be included in a balanced and healthy diet provided it meets specific nutritional criteria, such as our Highest Nutrition Standards which are based on WHO guidance.
Photo by Apsari Diana-Heartindo (Unilever Indonesia Foundation)
Helping children understand healthier snacking
As well as parents, we want to help children understand the importance of healthy snacking, so they can make good food choices. For instance, in 2016 we added a ‘treat meter’ to Paddle Pop multipacks in Australia to demonstrate the energy content of treats eaten regularly by 6-12 year olds. This treat meter has also been used in ten other countries.
1 A portion refers to a pre-packed single-serve ice cream product meant to be consumed in one go. It also refers to 100ml when ice cream is sold in larger packaging such as tubs.