Antony Burgmans, chairman of Anglo-Dutch consumer products manufacturer Unilever, has confirmed his company’s focus on developing healthier foods.

Burgmans said that roughly 2% of turnover is funnelled into Research and Development, half of which is invested in the food division. Approximately half of this goes into vitality- and health-related projects, he told Reuters, with this proportion expected to grow.

Burgmans joined the growing number of top food industry executives who are stressing that they have no interest in contributing to obesity by encouraging consumers to overeat unhealthy foods ,while also emphasising that occasional indulgence is no bad thing. He also concurred with the raft of food manufacturers who have opposed proposed taxation on foods of negligible health benefit as a tool in the fight against obesity, and confirmed that Unilever is monitoring all its recipes to make sure they do not contain excessive levels of salt or sugar..

Unilever is due to report earnings for the first quarter next week.