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Healthy habits, nutritious diets

Average read time: 11 minutes

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

Two women and baby reading book

Making better food choices

For some, healthy living is viewed as hard work and time-consuming. Because of our ‘need for speed’, people tend to use fewer ingredients, especially – let’s admit it – vegetables. The World Health Organization (WHO) is particularly concerned that many teenagers simply don’t have the cooking skills to become healthy adults. For others, the struggle is simply to eat well on a limited budget.

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 providing nutritious products. We’re also taking action to encourage people to make better food choices, for example through our evidence-based, behaviour-change programmes and responsible marketing. Our Knorr Eat for Good campaign, for instance, was named the number one best food ad worldwide by Ad Forum.

Whether at home or in a professional environment, we’re empowering people to cook simple, healthy meals with varied ingredients that are suitable for different lifestyles and budgets. We also 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.

We’re reinventing food

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

Knorr’s Future 50 Foods logo in green

Knorr’s Future 50 Foods Cookbook

We’ve produced a colourful cookbook featuring delicious, plant-based recipes created by expert chefs and approved by nutritionists.

It’s free to download at KnorrFuture50Foods.com and is sold on Amazon UK and WWF-UK’s website, with all profits going to WWF-UK.

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 run campaigns and programmes in eight different markets to inspire people to eat the Future 50 as part of everyday recipes. We continue to roll these out with the ambition to change the way the world eats. In the US, for instance, we offer a variety of resources with health and wellness content. These are aimed at registered dietitians, with whom we partner to encourage their clients and customers to focus on nutritious plant-based foods, including the Future 50.

And we’re developing innovative partnerships to accelerate consumption of the Future 50. For example, with our Unilever Food Solutions foodservice 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. These recipes have been rolled out to more than 15 countries.

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

Assorted pulses and grains in bowls and spoons

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 856.96 KB) makes sure these are in line with our Highest Nutritional Standards, and based on expert recommendations.

We update a bank of more than 100,000 delicious recipe ideas each year, ranging from main course and side dishes to Lipton’s green tea recipes. For Ramadan, for example, Knorr 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.

Cooking made easy

We’re helping people to ‘reclaim their kitchens’, making healthy meal planning simple, and shopping even easier. 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 others. Recipes can be searched using filters to meet dietary and lifestyle needs, such as our better-for-you recipes.

Knorr is finding three ways to help people enjoy more plants at mealtimes: 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.

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. In addition, we’ve teamed up with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to promote healthy lifestyles to over 4.3 million young people during non-school hours.

A helping hand for families

We run many national programmes to help families improve their diets. For example, to mark Knorr’s twentieth year of fighting malnutrition in the Philippines, in 2021 we started acampaign to inspire families to feed their kids well.

The Nutri Sarap nutrition programme encourages children to eat their greens in traditional Filipino dishes. It’s an extension of Knorr’s Lutong Nanay (Mum Cooked) Nutrition Programme that we work on in partnership with the Philippines government. Lutong Nanay provides undernourished kids with meals as well as teaching mums how to cook flavourful and nutritious meals on a budget – the 65 easy recipes cost less than the equivalent of €0.5 per meal. We’ve turned this into a cookbook too, to help mothers keep up good eating habits.

We’re also supporting Kain Tayo, a private sector initiative that brings nutritious meals and runs nutrition sessions in the most underserved communities of the Philippines. It’s backed up by an educational YouTube series and Nutrition Journal that also help mothers learn how to provide their children with nutritious meals.

In Italy, Knorr’s BuonCibo programme explores Future 50 Foods that were traditionally part of the Italian diet. As part of the initiative, we invite young people and their grandparents to cook easy and nutritious, plant-based meals together, using recipes from the BuonCibo cookbook with both Knorr and Future 50 ingredients.

And in South Africa, dietary habits found that the typical South African plate contains too much meat and starches and not enough vegetables. We launched our Plate of the Nation findings on the day of the State of the Nation 2020 address. We decided to monitor the situation annually and our research in 2021 shows a similar ‘plate’ to the previous year. To help improve the South African plate, we’re working with multiple partners – including chefs – to teach people how to cook flavourful and healthy, plant-based dishes using Knorr.

The South African flag on a plate, with the text 'Plate of the Nation 2.0

Good hydration is also essential for healthy living

Our approach to healthy habits isn’t limited to food. Through our tea business, we’ve long understood how important hydration is to good health.

As an alternative to water, health authorities recommend drinking unsweetened tea. In fact, drinking unsweetened tea has been recommended for the first time in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which was published in December 2020. And we know that two to three cups of unsweetened brewed tea every day provides flavonoids, which may help to support heart health as part of a balanced diet. ​

We run campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of healthy hydration and the benefits of drinking tea. In the US, for instance, we introduced an on-pack claim that tea ‘may help support a healthy heart’ across our unsweetened brewed green and black Lipton teas.

And in India, we’re raising awareness of the link between drinking tea and maintaining a healthy amount of body fat, as well as the importance of exercise.

For many, healthy food is still out of reach

Cheaper food products are often associated with less healthy offerings. We want to break this paradigm and ensure that everyone has access to affordable, tasty and nutritious food. This is critical as incomes become more and more polarised and inequalities deepen.

3 billion People who can’t afford a healthy diet

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), even the cheapest healthy diets are out of reach for more than 3 billion people. And the World Food Programme says that this problem affects people in developed countries, as well as emerging and developing markets.

To show our commitment to tackling hunger, we signed the Zero Hunger Private Sector Pledge during the UN Food Systems Summit 2021.

Ensuring our foods are affordable and accessible

We want to combat the inequalities people face in accessing healthy food. 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.

We provide our products across a full range of price and package sizes, from small sachets to larger family packs. We 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 to get our products into consumers’ hands, our brands also offer guidance on how to eat balanced diets on a tight budget.

And we use processing methods to help people access safe, affordable, convenient and nutritious food all year round. Food processing can reduce food loss and waste and packaged foods have a longer shelf-life. Our position on processed foods (PDF 127.38 KB) explains more.

A focus on pricing

As well as offering products across a range of price options, we also use in-store activation tools like discounts, promotions and coupons to make our products more accessible, especially during high consumption seasons like Easter, Ramadan or Christmas. And we engage with shoppers through promoters and dieticians to drive greater awareness about our products among more people.

Strategic price positioning and offering a variety of pack sizes can help us reach more people by better balancing costs across our portfolio. For example, in Turkey, we offer take-home and out-of-home ice creams that range from affordable brands, such as Twister, to premium-priced Magnums. Of course, the actual price paid by shoppers and consumers may vary as a result of retailers and distributors independently applying their own price policies.

An illustration of a tub of Ola ice cream on a pink background

By innovating across the price range – from our premium to our affordable ranges – we can bring our products within reach of more people to serve households of all levels of income. This model has been rolled out across different regions and product categories.

The issue of pricing is especially critical now, as the whole food industry is impacted by unprecedented levels of inflation. We are committed to absorbing as much of the cost pressure as possible, without compromising on product quality, taste or environmental impact.

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 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.

A group of women buying from a Shakti micro-entrepreneur in India

Extending our networks

We’ve expanded our Shakti model to more than ten countries as far apart as Colombia, Ethiopia and Pakistan, tailoring it to fit local conditions and ensuring we get this crucial ‘last mile distribution’ right.

In Egypt, for example, Project Zeinab is empowering women to reach rural consumers. And Knorr’s rooftop garden campaign, which brings vegetables closer to people’s homes, 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.

A picture of seeds growing into little plants

We also worked with BoP Innovation Centre to create ASPIRE. This is a guide to help us and others make quicker, better choices in applying innovative solutions and investments to scale up inclusive distribution models like Shakti. We’ve used it to look at populations’ typical nutrition needs – more iron for instance – so we can focus our product offering to address those needs with iodised salt or stock cubes.

And through our TRANSFORM partnership, we’re aiming to help 100 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia gain access to products and services that have been shown to improve health, livelihoods, the environment or wellbeing.

Supporting the foodservice industry

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 has become 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. And 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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