Hindustan Unilever to become more health-conscious

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on November 18, 2020

To make changes to product composition as part of Unilever’s new targets for its global foods and refreshment business

In a bid to corner a larger share of the plates of health-conscious consumers, Hindustan Unilever is making changes to its product composition, including continued lowering of calorie, salt and sugar levels across all food products.

This is part of Unilever’s new targets for its global foods and refreshment business unveiled on Wednesday. The targets are part of Unilever’s ‘Future Foods’ ambition, with two key objectives — help people transition towards healthier diets and to reduce the environmental impact of the food chain.

Eighty-five per cent of Unilever’s foods portfolio will support a diet providing a maximum of 5g of salt intake a day by 2022. In packaged ice-cream, 95 per cent of products will contain no more than 22g of total sugar and 250 Kcal per serving by 2025.

Addressing challenges

Explaining how the global targets address several issues in India, Sudhir Sitapati, Executive Director - Foods and Refreshment, HUL said: “Through the new commitments, we aim to create healthier and fortified foods that will address the challenges of unbalanced diet and micro-nutrient deficiency in India.”

For example, with increased focus on health during the outbreak of Covid-19, HUL said it realised that zinc is a key potentiator of the body’s immune system to protect against infections. Horlicks historically had 4.3 mg zinc/100g, which has now been boosted to 8.3 mg/100 g based on a clinical study which demonstrated very positive immunity outcomes in children with respect to both respiratory and gastrointestinal infections with this higher level of zinc, the company claimed. As of now, 52 per cent of HUL’s portfolio (by volume) meets the salt level target to enable daily intake of 5 g per day.

The Indian diet

“Despite over-producing food calories, India still faces three big challenges of nutrition — not enough calories for the poor, unsafe eating-out, and a diet excessive in carbohydrates but deficient in protein and micronutrients. India has a disproportionately high prevalence of health issues such as wasting and stunting, anaemia, and diarrhoea caused by unbalanced nutrition and an unhygienic environment,” Sitapati added.

Globally, Unilever’s commitments include halving food waste in its direct operations from factory to shelf by 2025, which is five years earlier than the previously committed target.

“These are bold, stretching targets, but as one of the world’s largest food companies, we simply must contribute to transforming the global food system. 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,” said Hanneke Faber, President of Unilever’s Foods & Refreshment division.

Published on November 18, 2020

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