The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan for

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Improving nutrition

Better products, better diets, better lives.

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More than 1 billion people enjoy our foods and drinks every day. We know that people want and expect superior quality products that are healthy and tasty. We enrich many foods with essential vitamins and minerals, and have set bold targets to reduce salt, saturated fat, sugar and calories across our brands. We also know that people want foods that are sustainably sourced and made with ingredients they recognise and trust. 

We are very conscious of the important role that food has in people’s well-being, and that non-communicable diseases are a high public health priority. We are a strong supporter of the UN Global Goal of Zero Hunger and are playing an important role in addressing over- and undernutrition. We do this by offering nutritious foods that are appealing, and through communication that is responsible, engaging and meaningful.

Our ambitious nutrition targets can help hundreds of millions of people to enjoy great food and better diets.


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 recognised dietary guidelines. This will help hundreds of millions of people to achieve a healthier diet.


In 2015 34% of our portfolio by volume met the highest nutritional standards, based on globally recognised dietary guidelines.


Meeting highest nutritional standards is a significant commitment. It involves addressing technical issues to make great-tasting products that meet our targets and that consumers will love. Nutritionally reformulated foods that are not chosen by consumers have no impact. And it means facilitating behaviour change amongst consumers – in which a wide range of stakeholders must play their part.

The majority of our portfolio already meets benchmarks based on national nutritional recommendations. We are on track to meet our 2020 commitment, which means that 60% of our foods and beverages portfolio by volume and across all countries will meet highest nutrition standards. To date 34% meet these standards1. This equates to well over half of the servings that we sell.

A great deal of reformulation is underway in all our product categories and we have made significant progress on reducing salt, sugar and saturated fat. We continually share our progress and approach with nutrition and public health experts so that they can also talk about the benefits of our products with consumers.

Our approach has been endorsed externally: we have consistently achieved a very high score within the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI); and we also were ranked top performer in the 2016 Global Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI), an independent rating of the nutrition programmes of the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturers.

We are working hard to deliver these improvements for the billion people who enjoy our food and beverages every day.

1 To measure our progress in nutrition, we use a reporting period that runs from 1 October to 30 September. 2015 data assured by PwC covered the period 1 October 2014 to 30 September 2015.

Independently assured by PwC.

  • Achieved: 3
  • On-plan: 4
  • Off-plan: 0
  • %% of target achieved: 3

Our targets

Please see Independent Assurance (EN) for more details of our assurance programme across the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.


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.

60% of our Foods portfolio was compliant with the 5g target in 2015.


We are on track towards our 2020 target.

Making further progress will involve continuing to follow the salt reduction plans that we have agreed across our consumer and Food Solutions professional catering business. It will also require all relevant stakeholders – for example governments, health authorities and healthcare professionals - to address the triggers and barriers that people experience in adopting healthier habits, given that current population salt intakes significantly exceed the recommended levels.


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.
  • 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.

  • By 2017, 90% of our complete global portfolio of soft vegetable oil spreads1 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.

92 92% of our leading spreads by volume contained less than 33% saturated fat as a proportion of total fat by 2012.

92 92% of our leading spreads by volume provided at least 15% of the essential fatty acids recommended by international guidelines by 2012.

82% of our global portfolio of soft vegetable oil spreads1 contained no more than 33% saturated fat and at least 67% good unsaturated fat in 2015.


We have plans in place to ensure more of our soft vegetable oil spreads will meet the saturated fat target. While we can reduce saturated fat to make our products better, working in partnership with others continues to be important to strengthen our impact, for example we have found that promoting awareness of heart health is often more effective when messages are communicated in partnership with health authorities and healthcare professionals.

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


By 2012, we will have removed from all our products any trans fats 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.1


By 2012, we had met our target to eliminate trans fat originating from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil from our products worldwide. We undertake regular reviews of our products to ensure we continue to be compliant. If products with trans fat originating from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil are found, they are reformulated.

1 We have published our definition and approach to removing trans fats from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. See: Melnikov S & Zevenbergen H. "Implementation of removing trans fatty acids originating from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils". New Food 2012; 5: 44-46. This approach focuses on main ingredients in our recipes and does not include traces of trans fats from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil that may be found in some flavours or emulsifiers.


Prior to 2010 we had already reduced sugar levels in our ready-to-drink teas. By 2020 we will remove an additional 25% sugar in ready-to-drink teas. In 2014 we extended this target to include our powdered ice tea and milk tea products1.

11% sugar reduction across all our sweetened tea-based beverages in 2015 since 2010.


We are on track to meet our 2020 target. Despite reducing sugar levels of many existing products and launching new products with lower sugar content in many markets during 2015, sales of higher sugar varieties overall were higher than sales of lower sugar varieties which offset our sugar reduction progress compared to 2014.

We will continue to reduce sugar levels in our tea-based beverage portfolio, and to offer beverages and innovations with lower sugar content, while maintaining the taste that consumers enjoy.

1 Our sugar reduction target applies to all ready-to-drink teas, powdered ice tea milk tea products, liquid concentrates, retail and foodservice and any new formats that are sweetened for the total time period of 2010 to 2020.


  • By 2014, 100% of our children’s ice creams will contain 110 kilocalories or fewer per portion. 60% will meet this level by 2012.
  • By 2015, 80% of our packaged ice cream products will not exceed 250 kilocalories per portion1

New target 2014

100% of our children’s ice creams contained 110 kilocalories or fewer per portion in 2014, up from 86% in 20132.

91% of our packaged ice-cream by volume contains 250 kilocalories or less per portion in 2015.


We have achieved our commitment that by 2014, our children’s ice creams would contain no more than 110 kilocalories. We are one of the first global companies to ensure that all our children’s ice creams, everywhere, are nutritionally responsible.

In 2015 we exceeded our global target that 80% of our packaged ice cream would contain no more than 250 calories. However, to demonstrate our responsible approach across our ice cream business, we are taking our commitment further - as in each market we aim to be at least 80% compliant too.

1 A portion is defined as: a pre-packed single-serve ice cream product meant to be consumed in one go or 100 ml when sold in packaging aimed at multi-consumption moments such as tubs.

2 Our children’s ice cream target is assessed at the end of Q4 2014; the rest of our reporting assesses progress from Q4 2014 to Q3 2015.


Our aim is to provide clear, simple labelling on our products to help people make choices for a nutritionally-balanced diet. 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.

86 In 2015, 86%1 of our portfolio had full nutrition labelling on pack in line with our commitment and over 95% of our portfolio had nutritional information on pack or online. We are working with relevant authorities to create a positive climate for labelling and to drive further change on our products.


In 2015, over 95% of our products communicated nutritional information on pack or online (at least the Big 42), whilst 86% was fully in line with our commitment1. This represents really significant progress since 2014, when we ended the year with 63%.

Our target is stretching, covering all our brands and markets. In 2016, we will continue to drive our labelling commitment in a harmonised manner across our total food and beverages portfolio so that we reach our target in full. We have put in place a global governance model and extensive monitoring activities to check nutrition labelling product by product.

The biggest challenge we face is that in several countries, new labelling regulations or revisions to existing regulations are under development. In some other countries, there is no positive climate for front-of-pack Guideline Daily Amount labelling. However, we continue to build support for advanced and harmonised nutrition labelling across industry and regulatory authorities.

1 These figures are by volume worldwide, Q2 2015 and include the products from our foodservice business, Unilever Food Solutions, as well as those parts of the Pepsi Lipton business where Unilever is responsible for marketing and distribution; it excludes products marketed through other joint ventures.

5% of this increase results from changes to the definition of relevant nutrition labelling as described in our updated global approach to nutrition labelling.

2 Big 4: nutritional information includes energy (kJ and kcal), protein (g), carbohydrate (g) and fat (g)


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