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July 22, 2021

Ben & Jerry’s owner Unilever “fully committed” to Israel, CEO Jope insists

The FMCG giant has faced Israel’s ire after Ben & Jerry’s said it would no longer sell in Israel-controlled land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem claimed by Palestine.

Unilever is “fully committed” to its business in Israel, chief executive Alan Jope said today (22 July), as the company deals with the fall-out from Ben & Jerry’s planned exit from Israel-controlled land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem claimed by Palestine.

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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:  
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The boycott by US ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, owned by Unilever since 2000 but a subsidiary that regularly takes public stances on social and political issues, has sparked anger in Israel.

On Tuesday, Jope spoke to Naftali Bennett about the situation and, after the call, the Israel Prime Minister’s office issued a statement that said Ben & Jerry’s move was “a clearly anti-Israel step”.

The statement added Bennett “emphasised that from the perspective of the State of Israel, this is an action that has severe consequences, including legal, and it will take strong action against any boycott directed against its citizens”.

Unilever has refused to comment on the details of the call. Today, the Knorr and Hellmann’s owner published its first-half financial results and was asked about the situation on a call with equity analysts to discuss the numbers.

“Look, this was a decision that was taken by Ben and Jerry’s and its independent board in line with an acquisition agreement that we signed 20 years ago. We’ve always recognised the importance of that agreement. Obviously, it’s a complex and sensitive matter that elicits very strong feelings. I think if there’s one message I want to underscore in this call, it’s that Unilever remains fully committed to our business in Israel,” Jope said.

“We have four factories, including a recent EUR35m investment in a new razor factory for [subsidiary] Dollar Shave Club. We’ve got 2,000 employees in our head office and distribution centres, and in the factories. We’ve put a ILS1bn (US$305.6m) of investment into the country in the last 10 years. That’s just the capital investment. We’re very active in the start-up community and with social programmes in Israel.”

The Unilever boss added: “I can assure you it is not our intent to regularly visit matters of this level of sensitivity. It’s been a long-standing issue for Ben and Jerry’s, and we were aware of this decision by the brand and its independent board. But [it’s] certainly not our intention that every quarter will have one quite as fiery as this one.”

Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling its products in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem also appears to have caused a row internally. On Tuesday, the company’s independent board criticised statements from its parent company and Ben & Jerry’s itself, which said the ice-cream business would continue to sell its products in the rest of Israel.

In an interview with US broadcaster NBC News, the ice-cream company’s chairperson, Anuradha Mittal, said the line in the statement about it staying in Israel wasn’t agreed on and Unilever had no authority to make such a promise.

Israel’s ambassador to the US, Gilad Erdan, has sent letters to the governors of 35 US states that have laws against boycotting Israel, asking them to place sanctions on Ben and Jerry’s in accordance with their own legislation.

The Times of Israel newspaper reported Erdan wrote in the letter the “boycott of hundreds of thousands of citizens living in Judea and Samaria” is the “de facto adoption of anti-semitic practices and advancement of the de-legitimisation of the Jewish state and dehumanisation of the Jewish people.” He was using the biblical terms for the occupied territories.

Ben & Jerry’s said its action would take effect at the end of 2022, when its contract with the current Israeli manufacturer and distributor expires.

News update: Unilever raises inflation outlook as commodities continue north

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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