Improving Nutrition

31%† of our portfolio by volume met the criteria for highest nutritional standards in 2013

Our commitment

We will continually work to improve the taste and nutritional quality of all our products. The majority of our products meet, or are better than, benchmarks based on national nutritional recommendations. Our commitment goes further: by 2020, we will double the proportion of our portfolio that meets the highest nutritional standards, based on globally recognized dietary guidelines. This will help hundreds of millions of people to achieve a healthier diet.

Our performance

In 2013 31%† of our portfolio by volume met the highest nutritional standards, based on globally recognized dietary guidelines.*

  • achieved: 1
  • on-plan: 7
  • off-plan: 0
  • %of target achieved: 2

Our perspective

Our aim is to make great-tasting food which makes a positive contribution to a healthy diet. The majority of our portfolio already meets benchmarks based on national nutritional recommendations. We have a long-standing program of improving the nutritional quality of our products. In 2013, we decided to move from generic to product-specific nutrient standards, to give a much sharper focus on the nutrients that matter most for a particular product. The standards continue to be based on globally recognized dietary guidelines.

In reviewing these standards, we also made adjustments to the nutrient levels for certain products in order for them to be classified as highest nutrition standards. For instance, we amended the standards for saturated fat in spreads and sugar in ready-to-drink tea. These changes reflect more realistic nutrient levels for our products, and will help our R&D teams to drive change across more products, and ultimately make a bigger impact on people’s diets. We have consulted independent nutritional experts in making these changes.

There is a lot of reformulation underway in all our product categories. This does not always get reflected in the annual performance figure (31% above) because many products do not meet our stringent standards until several rounds of reformulation have been carried out to reduce levels of salt, sugar and fat.

Making the changes too quickly in one go would mean people would switch to other higher salt, fat and sugar products. This would be counterproductive for our business and from a public health perspective.

We have made significant progress against our individual targets on salt, sugar and fat. Already 86% of our children’s ice creams contain fewer than 110 kilocalories. We have reduced sugar in ready-to-drink teas by 11% since 2010. So we are on track towards our long-term 2020 goal.

Reduce salt levels

Our first milestone was to reduce salt levels to 6g per day by the end of 2010. This required reductions of up to 25%. In 2010, we stated that our ambition was to reduce salt by a further 15-20% on average to meet the target of 5g salt per day. In 2013 we clarified our commitment.

  • By 2020, 75% of our Foods portfolio will meet salt levels to enable intakes of 5g per day.
  • 55% of our Foods portfolio was compliant with the 5g target in 2013.

 

Reduce saturated fat

We are committed to improving the fat composition of our products by reducing saturated fat as much as possible and increasing levels of essential fats.

  • By 2012 our leading spreads will contain less than 33% saturated fat as a proportion of total fat.
  • By 2017, 90% of our complete global portfolio of soft vegetable oil spreads** will contain no more than 33% fat as saturated fat and at least 67% as good unsaturated fat.

    In tropical areas, without chilled distribution, the maximum saturated fat content will be set at 38%, as a slightly higher saturated fat level is required to maintain stability of the spreads.

  • A daily portion will provide at least 15% of the essential fatty acids recommended by international dietary guidelines.

    We want to improve further the fat quality of all the soft vegetable oil spreads that we sell in tubs. In 2013 we extended our commitment.

  • 9292% of our leading spreads by volume contained less than 33% saturated fat as a proportion of total fat by 2012.
  • 82% of our global portfolio of soft vegetable oil spreads** contained no more than 33% saturated fat and at least 67% good unsaturated fat in 2013.
  • 9292% of our leading spreads by volume provided at least 15% of the essential fatty acids recommended by international guidelines by 2012.

 

Improve heart health

  • By 2020 we aim to motivate 100 million people to take the Heart Age test.

    Our goal is to motivate people to adopt healthier diets and lifestyles, as this can reduce elevated heart age.

  • In 2013 we established Heart Age within Unilever's Global New Business Unit which has its own board of directors and management team. This corporate structure allows Heart Age to collaborate with a range of public and private sector partners with a shared mission of helping people to improve their health.

    We have launched www.heartage.me(Link opens in a new window) a new improved version of the tool, reflecting our new partnership approach.

 

Remove trans fat

  • By 2012, we will have removed from all our products any trans fat originating from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
  • By 2012, 100% of our portfolio by volume did not contain trans fats originating from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

 

Reduce sugar

  • Prior to 2010 we had already reduced sugar levels in our ready-to-drink teas. By 2020 we will remove an additional 25%.

  • 11% sugar reduction across all our ready-to-drink teas in 2013 since 2010.

  • In the US, by the end of September 2013, we had achieved a 21.3% reduction in sugar compared to baseline 2010

 

Reduce calories

  • By 2014, 100% of our children’s ice creams will contain 110 kilocalories or fewer per portion. 60% will meet this level by 2012.
  • 86% of our children’s ice creams contained 110 kilocalories or fewer per portion in 2013, up from 81% in 2012.

 

Providing healthy eating information

Our aim is to provide clear, simple labelling on our products to help consumers make choices for a nutritionally-balanced diet. All our products in Europe and North America provide full nutritional information.

  • By 2015, this will be extended to cover all our products globally. We will include energy per portion on the front of pack plus eight key nutrients and % Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) for five nutrients on the back of pack.

    Our targets will respect local or regional industry agreements as well as the law in each market.

  • We have full nutrition labelling in Europe, North America, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. In 2013, for more than half of our portfolio (by volume worldwide), we completed our commitment by adding five GDAs back-of-pack and energy GDA front-of-pack.

 

† Independently assured by PwC

* The criteria underlying highest nutrition standards were adapted in 2013 to be product-focused, rather than generic, and to align with our category-specific programmes. The criteria continue to be based on international dietary guidelines. The corresponding 2012 compliance to the revised approach was 31%.

** For all other products in the spreads portfolio, including our mélanges, we strive for the lowest saturated fat level possible without compromising on product performance and consumer/customer expectations.