Global FMCG major Unilever on Wednesday announced a new set of targets for its global foods and refreshment business, including doubling the number of products delivering positive nutrition, which will play a role in addressing challenges of unbalanced diet and micronutrient deficiency in India.
Under its new 'Future Foods Ambition', Unilever said it also plans to halve food waste in its direct operations from factory to shelf by 2025 — five years earlier than previously committed.
Moreover, the company said it will double the number of products delivering positive nutrition - defined as products containing impactful amounts of vegetables, fruits, proteins, or micronutrients like vitamins, zinc, iron and iodine by 2025.
It will also continue to lower calorie, salt and sugar levels across all products, and 85 per cent of Unilever's foods portfolio will support a diet providing a maximum of 5 gram of salt intake a day by 2022. In packaged ice cream, 95 per cent of products will contain no more than 22 gram of total sugar and 250 Kcal per serving by 2025.
Commenting on the company's new target, Unilever President (Foods and Refreshment Division) Hanneke Faber said, "These are bold, stretching targets, but as one of the world's largest food companies, we simply must contribute to transforming the global food system." He added that it is not up to the company to decide for people what they want to eat, but it is up to the firm to make healthier and plant-based options accessible to all.
Elaborating on how the global targets will address several issues in India, Hindustan Unilever Executive Director (Foods and Refreshment) Sudhir Sitapati said, "Through the new commitments, we aim to create healthier and fortified foods that will address the challenges of unbalanced diet and micronutrient deficiency in India." Despite over producing food calories, India still faces three big challenges of nutrition - not enough calories for the poor, unsafe eating out and a diet excessive in carbohydrates but deficient in protein and micronutrients, he added.
"India has a disproportionately high prevalence of health issues like wasting and stunting, anaemia and diarrhoea caused by unbalanced nutrition and an unhygienic environment," Sitapati said.
As India's leading foods and refreshment company, which spends around 25 per cent of all food advertising on television in India, he said HUL "will help lead a food processing revolution in the country that is healthier, safer and has less wastage".
Sitapati added that the new nutrition portfolio, including Horlicks and Boost, its newly-launched Hellmann's along with its purpose driven brands such as Kissan, Knorr and Brooke Bond Red Label, will lead these commitments through innovations and communication.
Besides its new commitments, Unilever also announced a global sales target of 1 billion euros from its plant-based meat and dairy alternatives business that is present in several Unilever countries outside India, within the next five to seven years.
"This growth in plant-based alternatives is anticipated through offerings such as The Vegetarian Butcher and vegan alternatives from brands including Hellmann's, Magnum and Wall's," the company said.
Unilever said its Unilever's targets support commitments made by the company earlier to achieve a deforestation-free supply chain; moving to 100 per cent reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by 2025. They also include investing 1 billion euro in a new 'Climate and Nature Fund'; and supporting net-zero emissions for all products by 2039.
It also follows a 2019, 85 million euros investment in 'The Hive', a foods innovation centre at Wageningen University in the Netherlands to support research into plant-based ingredients and meat alternatives, efficient crops, sustainable food packaging and nutritious food, the company added.