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April 23, 2020updated 27 Jul 2022 1:09pm

Post-Covid-19 consumer will want “value” – Unilever CEO

Unilever CEO Alan Jope today (23 April) outlined how the FMCG giant was looking at the consumer and category landscape post-Covid-19.

By Dean Best

The notion of “value” will rise up the consumer’s agenda as the macroeconomic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic hits spending, Unilever CEO Alan Jope has said today (23 April).

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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
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by GlobalData
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Speaking to analysts after Unilever reported its sales for the first quarter of 2020, Jope outlined how the FMCG giant was looking at the consumer and category landscape post-Covid-19.

“From a consumer perspective, I think there’s absolutely no doubt that there’s going to be lasting changes on the importance of value. I think we are going to go into tough economic times for an extended period,” Jope said.

The Scotsman, a Unilever veteran who took the helm at the Knorr and Magnum maker at the start of 2019, echoed comments made this week by Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber that larger brands could benefit as consumers adjust after the Covid-19 pandemic but he also highlighted how the concept of value would mean consumers more often look for lower-priced options.

“At these times, consumers do seek the reassurance of big, familiar, trusted brands and high-quality products. We always see this in a crisis but in this case, in the aftermath, we do anticipate some trading down to more value-priced brands because we are facing an inevitable economic downturn,” Jope explained, before insisting: “Unilever is generally well-positioned for these changes, given our strong brands, our strong category positions, our strong local businesses and a portfolio that does cover the full spectrum of price points.”

Jope, who succeeded Paul Polman at the Unilever helm 15 months ago, also put forward another macro consideration that would shape consumer habits.

“We’re pretty confident that anything that’s in the space of wellness – health and well-being – is going to enjoy sustained strength,” he said. “Those are some of the consumer bets. There are others that I don’t really want to mention because we think they’re a bit proprietary, those insights, from our extremely good proximity to consumers. They’re also in many cases sometimes local.”

One of the trends Unilever said it had seen across markets in the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic is the growth in online grocery and Jope predicted that was a development that could continue. He also called out another retail channel that will benefit.

“From a channel perspective, I’ve already mentioned this is one-way traffic towards online grocery and online shopping in general – and it will be an accelerator of the trend toward proximity shopping which we’d already been seeing and are seeing at scale right now,” he said.

In the first quarter of 2020, Unilever posted flat sales, resulting in a turnover of EUR12.44bn versus EUR12.42bn a year earlier, with volumes up 0.2% but pricing down 0.2%.

For Unilever’s Foods and Refreshment division, underlying sales declined 1.7%, with volumes down 1.8% and positive pricing of 0.1%.

The division’s out-of-home ice cream unit, as well as its foodservice-focused food solutions business, suffered amid the global government lockdowns.

Jope, asked if the pandemic had changed Unilever’s stance on the make-up of its food portfolio, stood by those businesses.

“In terms of categories and business models, it’s not changed our thinking so far,” he said. “Ice cream is a wonderful business and we think the impact on ice cream will be deep but short-lived. We think that foodservice is a very attractive channel where we have super-strong positions. It’ll be longer for people’s return to restaurants to happen but it will come, learning from history. We’re being quite agile on reorientating our innovation programmes around changing consumer patterns.

“We’re moving quite quickly on rethinking our channel programmes but we’re not changing our point of view on category and business model attractiveness.”

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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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