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Unilever unveils mission to make plant-based eating ‘the new normal’

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever unveils mission to make plant-based eating ‘the new normal’

Related tags Unilever plant-based

Unilever is targeting annual sales of €1bn ($1.19bn - or around five times what it's selling today) from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives within five to seven years as part of a broader plan to make plant-based options more accessible, affordable and appetizing, effectively becoming “the new normal.”

In an announcement​ Wednesday, the global CPG giant said: “It’s not up to us to decide for people what they want to eat, but it is up to us to make healthier and plant-based options accessible to all.”

New research has shown that changing to a plant-based diet could reduce our individual carbon footprint by as much as 35%, claimed Unilever, which is predicting revenues of around 200 million euros from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives by the end of 2020, but consumers won’t switch unless plant-based options are the “easy, obvious choice.”

We know that a diverse, plant-based diet is better for our health and the health of the planet. But if we want people to make the switch, we need plant-based options to be more accessible, affordable and appetizing. They need to be the easy, obvious choice.”

Moving forward, Unilever’s customers will see a wider range of vegan and vegetarian options from its brands, said the company.

“It’s an approach that is not just good for the planet, it’s good for business too. Two years after acquiring The Vegetarian Butcher, we have expanded this leading plant-based meat brand into 30 countries. Hellmann’s vegan mayonnaise is now available in 33 countries and Ben & Jerry’s now has seven non-dairy alternatives. And Magnum’s first vegan ice cream was recognized with PETA’s best vegan ice cream award in 2019.

We live in a world where 2 billion people are overweight, while 1 billion go hungry. Where more than 20% of all greenhouse gases are produced by the food industry, and yet a third of that food is thrown away.”

The Futures Foods Initiative

As one of the largest food manufacturers in the world, Unilever has a responsibility to help shape a global food system that is fair for everyone, added the company. “That is why we are launching our ‘Future Foods’ initiative – it’s our plan to help people transition towards healthier diets and reduce the environmental impact of the food chain. In it we are committing to:

  • An annual €1 billion sales target from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives within five to seven years
  • Halve food waste in our direct operations from factory to shelf by 2025
  • Double the number of products that deliver positive nutrition by 2025
  • Continue to lower calories, salt and sugar across all our products.

The company has also made commitments to deliver a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023; halve its use of virgin plastic by 2025; and achieve net-zero emissions for all products by 2039.

Read more HERE​.

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