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November 20, 2020

Unilever moves to capture growing consumer interest in plant-based

Unilever is looking to further tap into consumers' interest in plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products – which has intensified during Covid-19, GlobalData writes.

Unilever is looking to further tap into consumers’ interest in plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products – an interest that has intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Unilever- A Deep-dive into Product Launches and Advertising Strategy

Unilever product advertising is mainly through mainstream TV channels. Out of the products advertised so far at least 50% (over 850) of ads have been run on TV, while print media comes second with 496 ads. Unilever also utilizes social media platforms for advertisement. Unilever products are categorized by innovation ratings and tags in our product launch database. The North American region consists of almost 74 products with innovations related to the formulation of the product. Europe and other regions also have more products categorized under formulation-related innovation, followed by the packaging and positioning of the products. Most Unilever products are tagged with “High Vitamins”, “Recyclable”, and “Natural” tags to understand what the product differentiator is from other products available in the market. The majority of products belong to the personal care industry with a total of 5,788 products to date. This report, through the Unilever Example, illustrates how GlobalData Explorer enables you to:  
  • Track product launches by FMCG companies to get an understanding of the product-level strategies including geographic concentrations, innovation types, product claim, category focus and more
  • Monitoring the advertising strategies of various brands and gain insights into channel focus, regional focus, and more
  • Perform company-level analysis to understand business model, size, and geographic focus
Don’t miss out on key market insights that can help optimize your next investment – read the report now.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

Within “the next five to seven years”, the FMCG giant, home to brands including The Vegetarian Butcher, wants its annual sales from those plant-based alternatives to reach EUR1bn (US$1.2bn).

GlobalData projects global retail sales of meat substitutes will rise 8% in 2020, cumulatively amounting to a value of US$5.1bn.

Moreover, the company’s most recent survey (published 10 November) suggests the Covid-19 pandemic has seen health, sustainability and ethics become more of a priority among consumers globally.

All these issues influence plant-based consumption and, while sales of alternatives to meat and dairy were increasing prior to Covid-19, in retail and in foodservice, consumer interest appears to have to have grown further during the pandemic. 

Covid-19 has driven consumers worldwide to consider what they are eating and Unilever will be looking to appeal to a growing number of consumers attempting to reduce their meat and dairy consumption, as well as the subsequent impact it has on the environment.

Additionally, among global consumers, 57% of respondents to that recent GlobalData survey said how a product impacts their health always or often influences their product choice and plant-based diets often benefit from a ‘health halo’. Unilever is therefore targeting several overlapping important trends by looking to drive its plant-based business.

Unilever’s new sales target is part of the company’s new ‘Future Foods’ initiative, which also includes pledges to halve food waste in its direct global operations from factory to shelf by 2025.

Initiatives to tackle waste are only going to appeal to the growing number of consumers becoming more interested in sustainability and the impact of what they eat on the environment.

Unilever refuses to disclose the exact figure for its current annual sales generated from plant-based meat and dairy products – but the company has said to get to the new target of EUR1bn annually would mean a growth of about five times from the current level.

In getting to the target, the Magnum maker has said this week organic growth will be its priority. The growth of the plant-based meat and dairy markets means Unilever is looking to expand in a couple of buoyant sectors and it has already had some success in, for example, building the presence of The Vegetarian Butcher – a plant-based business in the Netherlands acquired in 2018 – to more than 30 countries.

However, Unilever admitted this week hitting the “scary” target will “require really, really high growth rates”, so it would not be a huge surprise if the company made more bolt-on acquisitions to support its growth ambitions.

Unilever’s recent product-development work has also seen the company launch plant-based alternatives of brands including Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Magnum ice cream. It is the roll out of plant-based options to mainstream brands that will play a critical role in growing Unilever’s sales in this area but also helping support the overall expansion of the market as a whole, attracting not just vegans but flexitarians towards a more mixed diet.

Nevertheless, Unilever will need to continue to invest in new product development to ensure it stays on top of trends in the plant-based arena. The ‘health halo’ that has so served the emerging sector well is starting to lose some of its shine as more consumers start to look closely at the ingredients lists of some meat- and dairy-free products. With consumer scrutiny growing – and more consumers coming into the category – more manufacturers will be looking again at their recipes to ensure they are meeting demand in the area of health and sustainability.

Related Companies

Free Report
img

Unilever- A Deep-dive into Product Launches and Advertising Strategy

Unilever product advertising is mainly through mainstream TV channels. Out of the products advertised so far at least 50% (over 850) of ads have been run on TV, while print media comes second with 496 ads. Unilever also utilizes social media platforms for advertisement. Unilever products are categorized by innovation ratings and tags in our product launch database. The North American region consists of almost 74 products with innovations related to the formulation of the product. Europe and other regions also have more products categorized under formulation-related innovation, followed by the packaging and positioning of the products. Most Unilever products are tagged with “High Vitamins”, “Recyclable”, and “Natural” tags to understand what the product differentiator is from other products available in the market. The majority of products belong to the personal care industry with a total of 5,788 products to date. This report, through the Unilever Example, illustrates how GlobalData Explorer enables you to:  
  • Track product launches by FMCG companies to get an understanding of the product-level strategies including geographic concentrations, innovation types, product claim, category focus and more
  • Monitoring the advertising strategies of various brands and gain insights into channel focus, regional focus, and more
  • Perform company-level analysis to understand business model, size, and geographic focus
Don’t miss out on key market insights that can help optimize your next investment – read the report now.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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