Logo seeks to emphasise "sustainability" of Knorr products

Logo seeks to emphasise "sustainability" of Knorr products

Unilever is to put new logos on Knorr lines to emphasise the "sustainability" of the ingredients included in the products.

The Knorr Sustainability Partnership logo will first appear on the back of packaging for 11 SKUs sold in France and Germany to promote the use of what Unilever calls "sustainably-sourced" ingredients. 

The logo will "start appearing in the coming months" in selected markets, Antonie de Saint Affrique, president of Unilever's food business, told just-food.

"You're going to find some of it in France, some of it in Germany. It's not a pan-European launch. It's not going to be a blanket launch because we are targeting products in given categories. It's going to be on given products because they are sustainably-made. You'll have the logo and not the logo in the same country depending on whether the key ingredients are sustainably sourced or not."

The ingredients are sourced according to Unilever's "Sustainable Agriculture Code", a system of self-assessment set up in 2010. Unilever says the code is "independently endorsed" and publicly available and runs alongside certification schemes the company has joined including Fairtrade and the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil.

De Saint Affrique said the code would be the verification programme behind the Knorr logo and insisted consumers could find information on the system if needed.

"We are going to be very open and public on what it means," he said. "We say it on the pack, on the back of the pack, on the Internet sites. You cannot cheat with that."

De Saint Affrique was speaking at a press conference held in the German town of Heilbronn to mark the 175th anniversary of the establishment of the Knorr business. Unilever CEO Paul Polman was also at the event and he emphasised consumer goods companies needed to be "transparent" about their products, including how they are sourced.

"With every consumer being connected globally now, there is an enormous demand for transparency," he said. "You've had the food scandal on horsemeat, you've had the collapsing factory scandal in Bangladesh. People want to know what's happening when they buy products. They want to know where they come from; soon they will want to know what the farm that produces them is. What we're creating here is what the future is going to be. If we don't take care of our sourcing, then the consumers are going to vote you out of office very quickly."

In 2010, Unilever developed a programme - the Sustainable Living Plan - in which it aims to double the size of its business in ten years while reducing its impact on the environment. As part of the plan, Unilever wants to source all of its agricultural raw materials "sustainably".

A key target linked to Knorr is to buy all its "top 13 vegetables and herbs" from "sustainable sources" by 2015. By the end of last year, 59% had been purchased sustainably.