April 22, 2024

Heal Me Healthy

The Trusted Source For Health

Nutritious diets, healthy habits for all

16 min read
Nutritious diets, healthy habits for all

We’re enabling people to choose more nutritious foods and drinks.

Three Vietnamese businessmen sit round a table to enjoy lunch together

Helping people make better food choices

We want to make it easier for people to live well by eating delicious, better-for-you food. Positive nutrition and fortification explains how we’re continuing to provide nutritious products. On top of this, we’re taking action to encourage people to make better food choices, such as through our evidence-based, behaviour-change programmes and responsible marketing.

We believe we should be promoting wider change, so we’re looking at the bigger picture too and working with others on how to make our diets more sustainable.

Our strategic approach to nutrition

Our goal is to be nothing less than a World-Class Force for Good in Food. Through our Future Foods ambition, we’re helping people transition towards healthier diets, while at the same time reducing the environmental impact of the food chain.

  • Enabling a healthy diet through our products

    Our Future Foods Commitments guide our product development, helping to make healthier choices easier.

  • Ensuring our foods are affordable and accessible to all

    By bringing our products within reach of more people worldwide, we help households of all income levels eat nutritious, affordable and varied diets, including more plant-based foods and options.

  • Bringing affordable, nutritious cooking to communities

    Over time, we’ve developed effective healthy eating programmes. We help to tackle an identified local dietary need in vulnerable populations, and work in partnership with experts, local governments and NGOs.

    Our brands are recognised and trusted for their quality and food safety. As such, they play an important role in engaging consumers in our programmes.

  • Providing inspiration for healthy meals via recipes

    We’re empowering people to cook simple, healthy meals with varied ingredients that are suitable for different lifestyles and budgets. Many of our products are cooking aids, such as stock cubes and seasonings, which inspire people to create affordable meals and avoid food waste with the help of our recipes.

    Our 100,000 delicious and healthy recipes are available on dedicated websites, our brands’ pages and on products’ back of pack, as well as to our professional customers.

Ensuring our foods are affordable and accessible to all

We want to make sure that everyone has access to affordable, tasty and nutritious food. This means combating the inequalities people face in accessing healthy food. As incomes become more polarised and inequalities deepen, we see this as critical – and urgent – and we’re working with others to address this.

A resilient and affordable food system is vital

With the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and eight other leading companies in the food and agriculture value chain, we’ve published a paper highlighting the opportunities for the private sector to help build food system resilience and increase the affordability of nutritious foods.

It includes case studies showing how stakeholders along food and agriculture value chains can collaborate to improve the affordability and accessibility of food.

As Unilever, we’ve shown that affordability can be addressed through the healthy eating programmes we design to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, programmes such as Knorr Nutri Sarap in the Philippines and Royco Nutrimenu in Indonesia.

Read WBCSD’s Food Affordability paper

We’re addressing affordability and accessibility across the world to give people a choice in what they eat. We do this through our product offerings, sales channels, education programmes and, of course pricing.

Food processing helps to extend the shelf life of food, giving people access to safe, affordable, convenient and nutritious food. It also reduces food loss and waste – for example, dry products have a longer shelf life (which also contributes to making them more affordable). Yet there’s still a perception that processed foods are less nutritious. We’re continuously improving the nutrition of our products: Our position on processed foods explains more.

To help ensure good nutrition is available to all, we provide our products across a full range of recommended resale prices and package sizes, from small sachets to larger family packs. Examples include Maizena’s and Horlicks’ fortified beverages, Knorr’s value pack soups, mealmakers and Rinde Mas meat extender seasoning, as well as Royco’s single-serving seasonings. We also sell our foods through value channels, and contribute to food banks by redistributing surplus stock that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Using innovative ‘last mile’ distribution channels, such as our long-running Shakti model, we can get our products directly into consumers’ hands and, at the same time, offer guidance on how to eat a balanced diet on a tight budget.

The importance of pricing

Strategic recommended price positioning and a variety of pack sizes allow us to better balance offerings across our portfolio, enabling access to our products for more people. For example, in Turkey, we offer ice creams that range from affordable brands, such as Twister, to premium-priced Magnums. The actual price paid by shoppers and consumers may vary as a result of retailers and distributors independently applying their own price policies.

By innovating across the recommended price range from our premium to our affordable ranges, and for a variety of channels including mainstream and value, we can bring our products within reach of more people, to serve households of all income levels. We’ve rolled out this model across different regions and product categories.

Alongside pricing, value is equally important and through our recipes we inspire people to create affordable meals. Many of our products are what we call ‘mealmakers’, such as stock cubes, which contribute to making even basic meals delicious by adding flavour and goodness to a dish.

Reaching remote areas: the last mile challenge

In some countries, we found that traditional distribution channels simply weren’t reaching people in remote areas. So we developed a network of small-scale retailers to help us improve people’s access to quality, affordable products.

Shakti – our micro-entrepreneur network

Shakti in India is our longest-running example of a micro-entrepreneur network. Since 2001, we’ve trained over 160,000 women in low-income rural communities across 18 states to act as sales agents in their local villages.

Equipped with training on business skills and product knowledge, these micro-entrepreneurs sell foods, home and personal care products. They explain how to use them too, imparting valuable knowledge on topics such as nutrition and hygiene practices.

We’ve expanded our Shakti model to reach a number of countries including Colombia, Nigeria and Pakistan, tailoring it to fit local conditions and ensuring we get this crucial ‘last mile distribution’ right. And in Egypt, Project Zeinab is empowering women to reach rural consumers by helping them establish their own grocery businesses.

Another example of increasing accessibility and people’s incomes is Knorr’s rooftop farms campaign, which is also in Egypt. This created a new business model, helping people to set up sustainable and profitable rooftop farms, as explained in the video below. It won a coveted Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2021. Initiated in Cairo, the campaign is now scaling up nationwide with support from the Egyptian government.

We also worked with BoP Innovation Centre to create ASPIRE
(PDF 450.64 KB)
. This guide helps us and others make better choices in applying innovative solutions and investments, with the goal of scaling up inclusive distribution models like Shakti. We’ve looked at typical nutrition needs – like more iron – so we can focus our product offering to address those needs – in this case, with iron-fortified stock cubes. Through our TRANSFORM partnership, we’re aiming to help 15 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America gain access to products and services shown to improve health, livelihoods, the environment or wellbeing.

While we do all we can to get our product pricing and distribution right to help people access nutritious food, that’s only half the challenge. People still need the inspiration and skills to cook healthy meals, so we also provide balanced recipes to help them build healthy diets.

Bringing affordable, nutritious cooking to communities

Through our healthy eating programmes, we’re aiming to reach vulnerable people. Food insecurity has different levels. For some, it may mean difficulty in being able to access a variety of affordable ingredients. For others, it may mean being able to afford a more balanced diet but lacking the skills, knowledge and tools to bring out the best in the food they can afford.

We’ve developed a variety of healthy eating programmes, providing nutrition toolkits for parents, caregivers and community cooks in places where help is needed the most.

The fundamentals of our healthy eating programmes

Where we feel our products, recipes and toolkits can help provide solutions to clearly identified nutritional needs, we collaborate with partners on the ground, such as government organisations, NGOs, retailers and agencies, to help tackle them. We use a number of fundamental principles to design and run effective programmes.

  • An identified nutrition need

    Our healthy eating programmes aim to help fix a local dietary concern identified by a government and/or health authority.

  • Culturally and locally relevant

    We ensure our programmes are in line with local culture and tastes. We draw on the expertise of local partners to help design and implement our programmes.

  • Available and affordable ingredients

    Often our healthy eating programmes target lower-income households. It’s important therefore that key fresh ingredients recommended in our programmes must be locally available, nutritious and affordable.

  • Aligned with dietary guidelines

    We then make sure that recipes and food education are aligned with national dietary guidelines. Our local nutrition experts liaise with key government and/or nutrition partners, who give their seal of approval for the menus proposed, enabling them to be adopted by local agencies implementing the programme.

  • Targeted brand promotion

    It is then the job of our trusted brands to promote the programme to the target audience. Our brands play an important role in helping people adhere to the programmes since they are recognised and trusted for their quality and food safety, which are not always a given in some parts of the world. Experience has shown that branded behaviour-change programmes are effective in raising consumers’ awareness of healthy eating and improving their nutrition habits and cooking skills. And to scale up our programmes effectively, we often adopt a “train the trainers” approach.

  • Monitoring and evaluation

    Finally, we keep track of the programme’s progress and impact together with partner agencies.

Bringing our principles to life

Bringing our principles to life

Here are just some examples of the programmes we run around the world.

Knorr Nutri Sarap aims to tackle hunger and malnutrition in the Philippines by empowering parents to build healthy eating habits for their kids and diversify their family’s diet, especially in cash-strapped communities.

Since 2019, Royco’s Nutrimenu workshops have been inspiring caregivers to prepare nutritious and budget-friendly meals with iodine-fortified products to address child stunting.

Knorr South Africa is working in schools to improve the food that young children consume during school hours, showing how plant-based meals can be tasty and nutritious, while avoiding food waste.

Mujeres en Accion is our Unilever Food Solutions’ programme to upskill volunteer women cooks in community kitchens in Argentina.

Prabhat’s Poshan Saathi programme focuses on the health and wellbeing of Indian women, educating them about the importance of good nutrition.

Knorr believes that wholesome, nutritious food should be accessible and affordable to all. Working with partners, it’s bringing this purpose to life in the stores and communities we serve.

Tackling food insecurity is vital for communities

Food insecurity is on the rise around the world. We’re adopting a variety of approaches to tackle this pernicious issue, supporting everyday work in communities as well as disasters and emergencies.

For example, in the US, we’ve expanded our work with indigenous and people of colour communities, which historically are disproportionately affected by food insecurity. For example, Knorr and UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organisation, are working together on a new study. This will offer a deeper understanding of the lives and needs of Hispanic people in rural areas. The findings will support solutions for improving the quality of their diets and their access to nutritious food. This followed our #FeedTheVote campaign, which helped Latino communities access the nutrition they deserve.

Knorr US is partnering with The Food Trust for the third year running, matching donations to help ensure students learn to cook so they can enjoy healthy food for life. And we’ve teamed up with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to promote essential cooking skills to over 4.3 million young people during non-school hours.

In the Philippines, we’re supporting Kain Tayo, a private sector, multi-company initiative that provides nutritious meals and runs nutrition sessions in the most underserved communities of the country. It’s backed up by an educational YouTube series and Nutrition Journal that help parents learn how to provide their children with nutritious meals.

Beyond the programmes that focus on the needs of specific populations, we also offer recipe websites and healthy eating campaigns that inspire everyone to eat better.

Inspiration often starts with a recipe

One way to encourage home cooking is through our on-pack and online recipe suggestions. Our Healthy Recipe Framework
(PDF 1.28 MB)
makes sure these are in line with our Highest Nutritional Standards
(PDF 541.26 KB)
and based on expert recommendations.

We update a bank of more than 100,000 delicious recipe ideas each year, including main courses, side dishes and desserts. For Ramadan, for example, Knorr in Turkey created 11 Nutritious Ramadan Plates, with nourishing recipe suggestions to help keep people feeling full and energised throughout their fasting days. All our recipes aim to inspire creative, tasty and nutritious cooking, and often include on-pack shopping lists and cooking tips.

Reclaiming kitchens

We’re helping people to ‘reclaim their kitchens’, making healthy meal planning simple, and shopping even easier. As well as our many brand websites that offer recipes, we also have 12 dedicated recipe websites, such as Recepedia, helping people to find recipes that meet their dietary preferences and needs, as well as low-cost, low-waste and batch-cooking recipes. While others help people to add more vegetables to their plates, cook with seasonal, fresh ingredients, and make life easier with handy meal planners.

In Canada, Meals That Matter is our personalised meal planning and grocery delivery tool. This includes 500+ chef-curated recipes from Knorr, Hellmann’s and many of our other brands. Recipes can be searched using filters to meet dietary and lifestyle needs, such as our better-for-you recipes.

And Knorr is helping people to enjoy more plants at mealtimes in three different ways: Plates – by inspiring chefs to cook using sustainable ingredients; Products – by offering tasty and convenient plant-based choices; and Platforms – by suggesting a Future 50 Foods twist to traditional dishes on our recipe sites.

Harnessing the power of our brands

Everyone can use a little help and inspiration to cook nutritiously and our brand power can play an important role. Studies have shown that health message campaigns should be relevant, exciting, simple, truthful, and original. And to really convey a message effectively, they should actively involve the target audience too. We follow these principles, and use the power of our brands to encourage people to eat more vegetables, try plant-based recipes and diversify their diets.

Healthy and sustainable diets with Knorr

Knorr is our biggest food brand. It’s at the forefront of our efforts, with its purpose of ‘reinventing food for humanity’: driving shifts towards more varied and plant-based diets that are better for the health of people and the planet. One of the ways we’re doing this is through Knorr’s Future 50 Foods, which we developed with WWF-UK.

The Future 50 Foods are ingredients that are good for us and the environment. These foods are helping people to discover new flavours and diversify their diets towards more sustainable alternatives.

So far, more than 1,000 Knorr Future 50 Foods recipes have been developed by 200 Knorr chefs in 90 countries. The recipes feature on packs and Knorr websites, inspiring the millions of people who enjoy Knorr products each year to put better ingredients on their tables.

We’re also developing innovative partnerships to accelerate consumption of the Future 50. For example, with our Unilever Food Solutions food service business, we’re collaborating closely with international food services company Sodexo. Together, we’ve developed 40 recipes, bringing ingredients like amaranth seeds, the ube (purple sweet potato) and maitake mushrooms into workplaces and organisations worldwide. We’ve introduced these recipes in more than 15 countries.

We also continue to work with partners, including Chefs’ Manifesto, WWF, Gro Intelligence, Food for Climate League, and others. Together, we’re reinventing food for humanity for the benefit of people and the planet.

We run campaigns and programmes across markets to inspire people to eat the Future 50 as part of everyday recipes. And we continue to harness the power of our brands on every continent, with the ambition of changing the way the world eats. Here are some of Knorr’s Eat for Good local campaigns.

By inspiring more variety in diets and transforming classic dishes, Knorr’s Cheat on Meat campaign is working with TV chefs The Hairy Bikers to help UK families adopt more nutritionally and environmentally conscious lifestyles.

Knorr BuonCibo is prompting Italians to bring more diversity to their plates and helping them connect with vegetables through gardens and challenges.

Knorr is improving eating habits by helping Mexican families understand how culture, thoughts and emotions influence the relationship we have with food.

Our Com Nha Du Rau (Plenty Veggie Meals) campaign is helping families form nutritionally balanced eating habits by following the 4-3-2 principle for including enough fruit and vegetables in their diet.

Knorr South Africa is on a mission – to improve the diversity of the typical plate of the nation.

Helping people to adopt better habits

It’s not only Knorr and Hellmann’s that are helping people to adopt better habits. Lipton Green Tea’s brand purpose is to awaken Indians to integrate wellbeing into their everyday lives. It’s doing just that by showing people the small steps they can take to stay fit and well hydrated. Through our tea business, we’ve long understood how important hydration is for good health and maintaining just the right amount of body fat.

We’re raising awareness of the importance of staying fit while remaining hydrated. Apart from the zero-calorie benefit of drinking green tea, it’s also known for its fat-metabolising properties. Scientific studies show that this can be attributed to catechins, a type of flavonoid, of which green tea is a rich source.

We’ve been communicating about the goodness of tea through various channels. Our Lipton Green Tea home-to-home campaign is helping people to understand that a healthy Body Mass Index doesn’t necessarily translate into a healthy body fat percentage and that, in the long run, higher body fat is simply unhealthy. Through our teabags, packs and TV ad, we’re reminding people of small actions they can integrate into their daily routine to lower body fat.

Wholesome dishes for chefs and their customers

Pre-pandemic, in some parts of the world, eating out of the home was on the rise. But with lockdowns, being able to afford to eat out became a luxury for many. When people are fortunate enough to be able to eat out, or get a home delivery, we want to make it easier for them to eat healthily.

Our foodservice business, Unilever Food Solutions (UFS), is helping chefs and cooks in over 75 markets to prepare more nutritious meals for their customers. UFS Academy provides chef training on issues such as plant-based cooking, vegan cuisine and wholesome eating. UFS also provides online recipe inspiration.

In addition, we helped to develop, and continue to promote, the Chefs’ Manifesto. This is an initiative led by the SDG2 Advocacy Hub, a global coalition working together to tackle hunger. The aim is to support chefs from 77 countries to influence more nutritious and sustainable diets. On Earth Day 2021, for instance, we supported a new recipe booklet, Eat for Good Swaps, which includes recipes using Knorr’s Future 50 ingredients.

More and more UFS recipes and products are now plant-based or vegetarian. In 2021, we continued our PLANTMADE recipe and advice platform in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, to inspire chefs to serve more plant-based ingredients.

UFS also helps chefs who cook for specific populations, such as elderly people in hospitals and care homes. We’ve developed tasty products that cater to their specific needs. For example, our elderly care services include specially designed products that make chewing and swallowing easier. Our UFS websites around the world feature dedicated pages for elderly care, and our Aged Care RE:FRESH platform is dedicated to our elderly home food services.

Plant-based foods explains how we’re helping people to access foods that are better for the health of people and the planet.

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