Unilever plans raft of global functional foods launches

Unilever Foods is gearing up for a major push into functional foods with the launch of several new global brands over the next year. This follows a review of its 20,000 products to improve existing recipes and spot gaps in its portfolio.

It is understood the new brands include Moo, a calcium-rich children’s milk ice cream, which has been launched in Indonesia; and Amaze, a nutrient-rich milk drink, also for children, which is currently available in Turkey and is expected to be rolled out globally, including to the UK, over the next year.

It will also include launches under existing brands, such as Slim-Fast, Flora, which is know as Becal globally, and Lipton. Unilever is already launching Knorr Colour Soups, a high content vegetable soup with no preservatives or flavourings (MW August 9) and Frusi, a frozen yoghurt alternative to ice cream (MW last week) in several European markets.

The launches are part of Unilever’s Vitality strategy, which has led to it focusing on three new areas – positive choice, inherent goodness and functional health – in addition to its “normal” products or lighter versions of existing foods. The three new segments are growing three times faster than any of its other categories.

As part of its Vitality strategy, it is focusing on developing products that offer benefits in five areas – brain health, immunity and strength, beauty, heart health, and weight management.

A Unilever spokesman says the new brands are “symptomatic” of the way product development will be, but adds not all brands will be launched globally. He also points out that the Vitality strategy also embraces its household goods and personal care business, although it has been faster to develop in the food division.”

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