Our nutrition strategy focuses on better products, better diets and better lives.
A long heritage of quality products
We have a long heritage in contributing positively to people’s diets. Our brands like Knorr, Lipton and Blue Band have been offering good nutrition with great-tasting products for over 100 years.
Our foods and drinks are sold in about 100 countries. With this scale comes responsibility. That’s why we have a nutrition policy | (PDF) 123kb together with ambitious nutrition targets embedded into our business and R&D strategy.
We make sure our programme on nutrition responds to people’s concerns and is aligned with guidance from public health authorities, such as the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases 2013–20. We focus on addressing heart health, obesity and undernutrition, as these are the areas where our brands can have the biggest impact on health and well-being with great-tasting products and compelling communication.
Our nutrition strategy encompasses:
- Better products – Our Becel, Rama and Blue Band spreads contain essential fats and our Lipton teas are refreshingly hydrating. We continually improve nutritional quality. We are piloting iron-fortified Knorr bouillon cubes in Nigeria matched with a nutritious cooking programme. Worldwide, our Max, Paddle Pop and Popsicle children’s ice creams meet strict nutrition standards.
- Better diets – Through our marketing communication, we encourage more nutritious baking and cooking with our Becel liquid margarines and Hellmann’s dressings. We promote healthy recipes on pack and online, for example with our Knorr meal solutions, and are very active in training chefs in restaurants and catering operations.
- Better lives – Our campaigns encourage people to adopt more healthy diets and lifestyles, for instance Becel/Flora ProActiv’s ‘It Takes a Village’.
Engaging with others
We engage with a wide range of influencers, including celebrity chefs, food bloggers and public health authorities. By connecting with people in compelling ways, our brands play an important role in delivering healthy diet and lifestyle messages.
The scientific understanding of how food impacts health is constantly evolving. We collaborate with prominent research partners such as the Top Institute Food and Nutrition, in the Netherlands and the Harvard School of Public Health in the US. We also research motivators for behaviour change, for instance with the International Union of Nutrition Sciences1. We actively contribute to the latest thinking on nutrition security and sustainable diets, and share results through scientific conferences and peer-reviewed publications. In all our dealings on scientific research we apply the highest standards of integrity.
We play a leading role in industry-wide, self-regulating initiatives that encourage better products, diets and lives. We participate in trade associations such as the International Food & Beverage Alliance, Consumer Goods Forum, FoodDrinkEurope, Better Business Bureau in North America and Food Industry Asia. We also support broad coalitions and partnerships such as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) and the World Food Programme.
Through all these activities, we encourage the sharing of best practice, transparency, meaningful monitoring, and driving real change in people’s diets.
The majority of our products meet or are better than benchmarks based on national nutritional recommendations. Our commitment goes further: by 2020, we will double the proportion of our portfolio that meets the highest nutritional standards | (PDF) 356kb based on globally recognised dietary guidelines. This will help hundreds of millions of people to achieve a healthier diet.
Progress to date
In 2015, 34%† of our portfolio by volume1 met the highest nutritional standards. This is based on an assessment of every single product in our portfolio in all countries and across our total retail and foodservice business.
The salt levels in 60% of our food products (by volume) meet benchmarks that are aligned with the WHO-advice of no more than 5g salt per day, while 91% of our packaged ice creams globally now contain no more than 250 kcals per portion. Since 2010, we have reduced sugar in our sweetened tea beverages by 11%.
The Global Nutrition Report 2015 shows that progress is not being made fast enough to address over- and undernutrition. Collective action is needed from a wide range of stakeholders to influence people to change their eating habits.
We have a firmly established programme of driving down salt, saturated fat, sugar and calories in many products, and will ensure that they continue to meet people’s taste and quality expectations – as healthy food that is not chosen by consumers has no impact.
We are stepping up our long-standing work on ‘positive nutrition’ with our micronutrient fortification programme being piloted by Knorr. This will ensure a wider reach, including to lower income groups.
We will also be focusing more on digital promotion of healthy recipes for all brands, based on consistent standards emphasising key nutrients as well as healthy ingredients such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrain.
While we recognise that much more work needs to be done, and are determined to play our part, we are also pleased to see the recognition given to our nutrition work in the 2016 Global Access to Nutrition Index.
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Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, Mobilising Collective Action: Summary of progress 2015
Annual Report and Accounts 2015