Posted on Nov 18, 2020 at 10:53 AM
Unilever follows in the footsteps of other majors in the food industry. With a delay, the Anglo-Dutch giant announces an ambitious program of sales of vegan products for 1 billion euros within five years. This is a very strong acceleration which supposes a quintuple its volumes of meat substitutes and dairy products by 2025.
The food giant has chosen three of its iconic brands to achieve this goal: Vegetarian Butcher for plant-based alternatives to meat, Hellmann’s for mayonnaise and Magnum for vegan ice cream. Unilever acquired the Vegetarian Butcher brand two years ago. An operation which the group welcomes because of what it describes as “the explosion of sales of burgers and nuggets”. The brand is marketed in more than thirty countries, as well as by the Burger King chain.
Less calories, nutritional balance
Unilever warns that in parallel with the vegan shift made in its offer, it wants to do even better than it had promised in terms of food waste and to halve the figures initially announced. In addition, the group will double its production of nutritional specialties by 2025. Unilever will manufacture products richer in vegetables, fruits, proteins, vitamins as well as elements such as zinc, iron or iodine. . He wants to reduce calories, sugar, salt in 85% of his wallet. Ice cream will not contain more than 22 grams of sugar and will not exceed 250 calories per serving. The group points out that it had already capped calories in children’s ice cream since 2014.
Towards a new global food system
The pandemic has further heightened consumers’ awareness and health demands, said Hanneke Faber, president of Unilever’s food and beverage division. “We have a critical role to play in helping transform the global food system. It is not for us to decide for people what they want to eat, but we need to offer them healthier and plant-based options ”.
All the large groups have developed their vegan offer. Danone through the acquisition of American WhiteWave with an investment of $ 12.5 billion. Nestlé is expecting long-term double-digit growth in plant-based meat substitutes. The Swiss giant offered itself the American Sweet Earth Foods in 2017, a specialist in frozen foods, burritos and various kinds of meatless sandwiches, forecasting a US market at $ 5 billion in 2020.