Improving nutrition

This work supports the following UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • Good Health and Wellbeing
  • Partnership For The Goals

Healthy nutrition habits

We’re using our scale and reach to encourage people to eat a healthier diet and to prioritise hydration.

Father and daughter in the kitchen

Healthy eating at home

Two ice creams
On Pack

Our Responsibly Made for Kids logo for children’s ice cream

Life today is very different from our grandparents’, and even our parents’, generation. Healthy living is often perceived as harder work and time-consuming. Because of our ‘need for speed’, people tend to use fewer ingredients and make fewer side dishes, including vegetables. The World Health Organization has expressed concern that many adolescents lack the necessary cooking skills to ensure healthier futures.

We want to make it easier for people to live better by eating tasty and nutritious food. We’re empowering people to cook healthy meals with varied ingredients, in flexible ways that suit different lifestyles and budgets. And we’re helping people understand how treats can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, for example, our ‘Responsibly Made for Kids’ logo appears on children’s ice cream products which adheres to our Highest Nutritional Standards.

Find out more about how we’re encouraging people to eat a healthier diet.

Healthy nutrition habits infographic

Delicious recipes to inspire cooking

One way to encourage home cooking is through our pack and online recipe suggestions. Our Healthy Recipe Framework (PDF | 991KB) ensures these are aligned with our Highest Nutritional Standards and are based on expert recommendations. We have more than 100,000 recipe ideas running each year, ranging from Lipton’s green tea recipes to delicious main course and side dishes, all aiming to inspire creative, tasty and nutritious cooking.

Across the world, Knorr displays on-pack shopping lists and tips to make it even easier for people to start cooking with nutritious ingredients. Our country websites feature delicious Knorr recipes that encourage people to eat more plant-based foods, helping them to discover new flavours and diversify their diet towards more sustainable alternatives.

Knorr has teamed up with WWF-UK, leading scientists, nutritionists and agricultural experts, to compile the Future 50 Foods report. This highlights 50 nutritious, plant-based ingredients that can be incorporated into everyday meals for a more sustainable food system (as growing these crops has low environmental impact). Our hope is that this will inspire people to try new foods and experiment with different flavours, using ingredients that are good for the planet, our health and increase biodiversity. Knorr chefs have been experimenting with each of the 50 ingredients to create recipes that are featured on Knorr websites, in-store and on-pack.

In Indonesia, 23 million children face malnutrition, obesity and stunting. Royco (Knorr’s local brand name) has worked with chefs and nutritionists to develop balanced recipes for affordable, nutritious and delicious meals. These use ingredients from Knorr’s Future 50 sustainable foods list and follow local nutrition guidelines. The Royco Nutrimenu programme started in September 2019 with cooking classes in Garut, and was quickly extended to other cities through a network of boarding schools. The programme has already impacted an outstanding 115,000 mums and teenagers, and is now strengthening its partnerships with government, NGOs and school associations to reach more people.

Our work on nutritious cooking covers many countries. In the US, for example, our Make Meals that Do More programme offers delicious and nutritious recipes that have been implemented in-store with various retailers. In 2019, in order to encourage the use of fresh food and increase access to nutrition education in underserved communities, Knorr partnered with A Better Life Foundation. Together, we were able to show people how to cook with nutritious food and offer tips on creating healthy meals that work for them and their lifestyle.

Encouraging young people to get in the kitchen

Getting kids to cook makes them more willing to try new foods. Unilever provides tips for parents on how to encourage young chefs to cook tasty and healthy meals. Top tips include choosing age-appropriate tasks, teaching kitchen safety, inspiring creativity and above all, making it fun.

Spotlight

Lutong Nanay Meals

Helping parents provide nutritious food for their children

In the Philippines, there are 7.5 million kids under the age of ten who are undernourished, according to the Food Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).

Through Knorr’s Lutong Nanay (Mum Cooked) Nutrition Program, we’re helping mums to boost their family’s health by teaching them to cook flavourful and nutritious meals on a budget. This is a collective effort of Unilever Philippines, the Manila Department of Social Welfare, Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Kabisig ng Kalahi and various local government units.

The programme’s Nutribudget Journal includes 65 affordable, nutritious and delicious meal ideas to cook at home. These incorporate several of our Knorr Future 50 sustainable, plant-based ingredients, which are locally available, including moringa, okra, mungbean and bean sprouts. The recipes also provide sustainable nutrition tips and healthy portion suggestions, following the healthy eating plate model to further inspire variety in serving meals.

Better for the environment as well as people’s health, the Journal aims to help mums improve their family’s nutrition habits. In 2019, our pilot in Taguig City saw a six-fold increase in mums choosing to cook healthy food at home, and a 50% reduction in underweight kids whose mums were involved in the programme. By 2020, we aim to reach 2.5 million people.

“Learning about the situation of the residents here led us to understand that their circumstances leave them with little opportunity to provide their kids with proper nutrition,” explains Ed Sunico, VP for Sustainable Business and Communications at Unilever Philippines. “With Knorr Lutong Nanay, they can count on a solution for their children’s nutritional needs.”

This work contributes to the following UN Sustainable Development Goal

  • Good Health and Wellbeing)

Eating out healthily

In many parts of the world, eating out of the home is on the rise and we want to make it easier for people to eat out healthily. We use our brands, extensive chef networks and key global partnerships to champion cooking that is better for people and the planet.

Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) – our dedicated foodservice business – is helping chefs and cooks in over 70 countries to prepare more nutritious meals for their customers. We provide online recipe inspiration , and approximately one in five UFS recipes in countries like South Africa, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the US are now plant-based and vegetarian.

Working with the World Resources Institute’s Better Buying Lab, UFS is exploring new strategies to help people make nutritious, sustainable menu choices. As part of Greendish’s Food Value & Chain Research Program, we’re looking at menu-engineering to encourage people to eat more vegetables when eating out. Our studies show that 61% of guests say meals are better if more attention is paid to vegetables. And in January 2020, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, we launched the ‘Pushing Plants Forward’ platform to inspire chefs to serve more plant-based ingredients.

We also helped to develop, and continue to promote, the Chefs’ Manifesto. This is an initiative led by the SDG2 Advocacy Hub, a global coalition working together to tackle hunger. The aim is to support chefs from 37 countries to influence more nutritious diets. It calls on chefs to champion food biodiversity in their kitchens, and recipes for a more diverse, sustainable and delicious future. A practical Action Plan outlines simple steps that chefs can take to cook meals that are healthier for people and better for the planet.

Spotlight

Elderly people in care home

Helping chefs in hospitals and care homes

As life expectancy increases, the elderly population is growing. This means that more and more people are eating their meals at care homes or in hospitals.

To help chefs cook for this age group, we’ve developed tasty products that cater to their special needs. Our elderly care services, for example, include specially-designed products, with adjusted texture to make chewing and swallowing easier. In 2019, we also began to introduce protein-rich products to help maintain muscle mass and strength, bone health, and other essential functions.

We organise demonstrations of these new products, and provide training and tools to care homes and hospitals. And we work with geriatric associations and nutritional experts in ten countries, to raise more awareness. In 2019, we partnered with charities and care homes across the UK, creating programmes to improve the wellbeing of residents.

“Our ‘This Is Home’ event in December 2019, saw a host of care industry leaders gathered at Unilever Food Solutions' Chefmanship Centre,” explains Sarah Branagan, Marketing Director, Food Solutions UK and Ireland. “Featuring celebrity chef Josh Eggleton, the event highlighted, celebrated and debated some of the sector's most pressing issues. UFS supplies its care home customers with many products, including PG Tips, the UK’s favourite tea brand. PG Tips is also on a mission, to combat loneliness, improve hydration and encourage togetherness among residents in care settings.”

This work contributes to the following UN Sustainable Development Goal

  • Good Health and Wellbeing)

Making tea part of good hydration habits

Adequate hydration is essential to achieving good nutrition habits, and many people drink tea – which is 99.5% water – to unwind from a busy day.

As the largest global tea company, we have a long-standing research programme investigating the benefits of tea. Our research has been cited in both the European Society of Cardiology guidelines for the management of high blood pressure and the Dutch food-based dietary guidelines. And we share our findings with the nutrition community. In Chile, for example, Lipton hosted roundtable discussions and attended external nutrition meetings and events to offer insights in 2019.

We know that tea uniquely contains both theanine and caffeine, and is a rich source of flavonoids which are linked to health benefits like a healthy heart. Black tea improves attention, and studies in Asia suggest that drinking green tea regularly as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle may help with weight reduction.1 Studies in the US show that drinking unsweetened tea daily is also associated with higher levels of good cholesterol and lower body mass index in adults, compared with those who don’t drink tea.2

As an alternative to water, health authorities recommend drinking unsweetened tea. The challenge is that in some countries most people don’t drink their tea unsweetened. We run various campaigns to convince people to drink unsweetened leaf tea in some of these countries. In India, for instance, our TV campaign for Lipton Darjeeling Tea emphasises its distinct aroma and flavour, and recommends drinking it without milk or sugar to enjoy it at its best.

We also spread our positive hydration messages in-store, like with US retailer Hannaford, and introduced the claim ‘just as hydrating as water’ on several Lipton black teas in the US. To raise awareness, we produced an educational booklet and organised retail activations, which were led by in-store nutritionists. And we include healthy hydration messages as part of our Agents of Change Make Meals that Do More initiative.

1 Tea Consumption Patterns in Relation to Diet Quality among Children and Adults in the United States: Analyses of NHANES 2011–2016 Data.

2Perspective: The Role of Beverages as a Source of Nutrients and Phytonutrients.

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