Unilever sets new targets to produce healthier food products and tackle obesity

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
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Global food giant Unilever is preparing to publish its product porfolio performance alongside several government-endorsed nutrional scales, to make some of their best-selling products healthier.

The company will publish a new report each year, revealing information on how it has performed according to the volume of products and sales revenue.

Some of the products coming under review include Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum ice cream brands, Knorr stock cubes, and Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

The nutritional performance of Unilever’s goods will be examined against six Nutritional Profile Models (NPMs) including the European Nutriscore system, the UK’s HFSS guidelines, Chile’s Front of Pack logos, the Health Star Rating used in Australia and New Zealand, and Singapore’s Healthy Choice logos.

The action comes following communication with and pressure from investors at ShareAction and Healthy Markets Initiative, to take action on obesity, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Unilever will also work to improve its present nutrition targets, first realeased at the end of 2020 as part of the company’s Future Foods commitments. These include improving targets for the sales of plant-based products, the reduction of high levels of sugar, salt, and calories in products, and increasing sales of goods with a healthier nutritional content.

The company will take into account six NPMs as well as their own Highest Nutrition Standards (HNS) in order to find a set of targets that are the most likely to help it increase sales of healthier goods in an achievable amount of time.

Some of its current targets include doubling the number of positive nutrition products in its food and refreshments line by 2025.

Unilever’s President of Foods & Refreshment, Hanneke Faber, said: “We welcome the constructive dialogue we have had with ShareAction and the Healthy Markets Initiative. We share a common belief in the importance of having an ambitious long-term strategy for nutrition and health, and that companies should publish ambitious targets to deliver against. I am confident that with these new initiatives, we will set a new benchmark for nutrition transparency in our industry and accelerate our positive impact on public health.”

The new commitments for Unilever’s products will be published by the end of October 2022.

In the meantime, the company will continue to work with investors from both ShareAction and Healthy Markets Initiative to develop these new targets.

CEO of ShareAction, Catherine Howarth, said: “A food manufacturer as large as Unilever has the power to improve the health of millions of people across the world. Responsible investors are challenging such companies to step up. We welcome Unilever’s new commitments. The transparency promised sets a new standard for the industry. We hope and expect that others will follow. ShareAction and the Healthy Markets investor coalition looks forward to working closely with Unilever as the company sets stretching new targets to sell more healthier food—and improve people’s health.”

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