Food that’s nutritious. Food that’s sustainable. Food that’s fair.
Everyone, everywhere deserves access to good food. But for people to get their fair share, the world’s food system needs to change.
Why would a successful food business like Unilever say that? Because we can see that the food system as it is today is simply unsustainable.
It should be giving everyone access to quality nutrition, with plenty of plant-based choices. It should be serving consumers, and producers, fairly. And it should be cutting waste, and promoting sustainable agriculture.
It isn’t doing that – yet. But we want to lead the way.
Too unbalanced, too wasteful and too vulnerable
Already, around 2 billion people are overweight. Nearly a billion people go to bed hungry, while a third of all food produced is lost or wasted. Producing and consuming food is exhausting the earth’s resources and fuelling climate change.
At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic is reminding us all of the importance of a resilient food supply chain.
Nothing less than a transformation is needed. As one of the biggest consumer goods companies in the world, with a large Foods & Refreshment portfolio, we want to make a huge impact through our scale and reach.
Every day, half a billion of our products are consumed, so we can and should lead the transformation of the food system. It is our responsibility to make it easier for people to eat healthy, tasty and more sustainable foods.
Hanneke Faber, our President Food and Refreshment
Four ways we’re leading change
Nutritious foods and healthy, balanced diets
We’re ensuring our products are Responsibly Delicious – with a focus on both taste and goodness. We want all consumers to have access to affordable products, and we encourage people to make nutritious choices through clear labelling and balanced portions.
We’re providing essential micronutrients in a growing number of our products, reducing salt and sugar, and lowering calories. We’ve reduced the sugar content of Lipton Ice Tea by 30% across Europe, for example. We’ve also introduced a 110 calorie cap on our children’s ice cream.
In 2019, 56% of our portfolio by volume met the Highest Nutritional Standards, standards we have developed based on globally recognised dietary guidelines.
Making plant-based choices available to all
We want to make sure that everyone can be part of the move towards plant-based foods and alternative proteins. Eating more plant-based choices can be better for all of us as consumers, and better for the planet.
We’ve hugely expanded our range of dairy-free and vegan options, such as Hellmann’s Vegan and Magnum Vegan. Our Knorr brand partnered with WWF UK to publish the Future 50 Foods report, promoting more diverse plant-based eating and biodiversity.
And we’ve made a €85 million investment in a new Foods Innovation Centre at the campus of Wageningen University & Research, which will help formulate the next generation of meat and dairy alternatives to join the plant-based foods that already make up around a third of our portfolio.
Less food waste
People hate to see food wasted, especially when times are hard. So do we.
We’re tackling food waste, both in our supply chain, and by helping consumers reduce the amount of food they throw away. And as a member of Champions 12.3, a global coalition of leaders from governments, businesses and civil society, we are dedicated to accelerating progress on this issue.
Food that’s fair, and doesn’t cost the earth
We all want our food to be made in ways that are fair to others, and the planet. So at the same time as supporting consumers in choosing healthy, balanced diets, we strive to source our ingredients sustainably and support farmers and others who make their livelihood from working with us.
By 2019 we had enabled 793,000 smallholder farmers to access initiatives aiming to improve their agricultural practices.
We will achieve a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023, and we’re committing to net zero emissions from all our products by 2039. From the sourcing of the materials we use, up to the point of sale of our products in the store.
And we’ve made industry-leading commitments on plastic across our business. Food packaging is no exception – for example, our new Hellmann’s 100% recycled and recyclable plastic jars and bottles launched in the US and Canada, will save around 14,000 tons of virgin plastic per year.
July 3, 2020