Unilever has announced a new annual global sales target of €1 billion from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, within the next five to seven years.

Increasing vegan alternatives from brands including Magnum, Streets, Continental, and Hellmann’s will drive the growth.

The target is part of Unilever’s ‘Future Foods’ ambition, launched globally with two key objectives: To help people transition towards healthier diets and to help reduce the environmental impact of the global food chain.

To achieve these goals, Unilever has committed to halving food waste in its direct global operations from factory to shelf by 2025.  This is five years earlier than the company had previously committed, as part of its Champions 12.3 coalition target.

Unilever will double the number of products delivering positive nutrition globally by 2025. This is defined as products containing impactful amounts of vegetables, fruits, proteins or micronutrients like vitamins, zinc, iron and iodine.

It has also committed to continuing to lower calorie, salt and sugar levels across its products.

By 2022, 85 per cent of Unilever’s global foods portfolio will help consumers reduce their salt intake to no more than five grams per day.

And by 2025, 95 per cent of Unilever’s packaged ice cream will not contain more than 22g of total sugar, and 250Kcal per serving. This is an addition to the company’s children’s ice creams, which have been capped at 110Kcal since 2014.

Unilever has already made significant progress expanding its plant-based dairy alternatives and reducing food waste.

In Australia and New Zealand, Unilever has accelerated availability of plant-based and dairy alternatives, including offering dairy free options of Magnum, Weis and Ben & Jerry’s ice creams.

It is also empowering chefs to cook more plant-based meals using vegan products including Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo, Knorr Intense Flavours and Knorr Tomato Powder.

Hanneke Faber, President of Unilever’s Foods and Refreshment Division, says: “As one of the world’s largest food companies, we have a critical role to play in helping to transform 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. These are bold, stretching targets which demonstrate our commitment to being a force for good.

“It is widely recognised that the current global food system is inequitable and inefficient. One billion people around the world are hungry4 while two billion are obese or overweight5. One third of all food produced is thrown away6. And animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels and a leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss.”

The ‘Future Foods’ ambition also support Unilever’s global commitments to achieve a deforestation – free supply chain by 2023; invest €1 billion in a new Climate & Nature Fund; and achieve net-zero emissions for all products by 2039. The company has also pledged to ensure 100 per cent of its plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.

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