Our vision is of Sustainable Nutrition – foods and refreshments that taste good, feel good and are a force for good.
Food is essential to life
Food nourishes us every day. Not only does it sustain life, it gives pleasure, brings people together and is an important ingredient in every culture. Life without delicious and healthy food just wouldn’t be the same – and many people are as passionate about food and drink as we are.
Unilever has a long heritage of quality food and drink products. Our brands such as Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton and Blue Band have been offering good nutrition with great taste for over 100 years. For more than a decade, we have been working to make our products – like Ben & Jerry’s, Wall’s, Brooke Bond and Flora – even healthier by increasing the goodness and reducing nutrients of concern like sugar, salt and saturated fat. We also use the power of our brands to empower people to make responsible choices.
Everything we do is underpinned by evidence-backed scientific research, with a focus on the people who use our products. We want our products to appeal to people who enjoy a healthy diet and still include occasional treats. We are committed to ensuring our products, such as our children’s ice creams, are clearly labelled with nutritional information, available in appropriate portion sizes, and marketed responsibly. And we continue to support education and behaviour change through our nutrition programmes.
The world’s food system is broken
The way the world produces and consumes food today is unsustainable. From over-exploitation and climate change, to waste and poor diets, the food system needs fixing. By the middle of this century, farms will need to feed an extra 1.5 billion people.1 Today, around one in nine people – 800 million – go to bed hungry every night.2 Meanwhile, one-third of food is never eaten. That’s the equivalent of sub-Saharan Africa’s entire annual harvest, costing the global economy $750 billion and 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, not to mention lives lost.
As the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) acknowledge, responsibility for bringing about change is widespread. Governments need to start working together more. Farmers and producers need to become more efficient and adopt sustainable practices. Business has a critical role to play in making sustainable and healthy foods and drinks the norm, and giving consumers more choice.
Nutrition is central to achieving the SDGs – especially Zero Hunger (SDG2). The Global Nutrition Report 2017 PDF says without addressing nutrition-related issues such as undernutrition, obesity, sustainable agriculture and food waste, it will be impossible to achieve many of the SDGs – including No Poverty (SDG1), Gender Equality (SDG5) and Climate Action (SDG13). The business case for action is clear: for every £1 spent on nutrition, at least £16 is returned in economic benefits.
When our CEO, Paul Polman, joined global leaders in New York in September 2017 for the UN General Assembly, he affirmed the role of business in helping to deliver the food system transformation needed.
Next to our moral obligations to address food system challenges, it is an enormous business opportunity. Achieving food security could create 80 million jobs and unlock 14 major business opportunities worth $2.3 trillion annually by 2030.Paul Polman