Pre-tax profits increased to €1.4bn (£1.2 billion) up from €1.1bn in the same period last year.
Unilever says it increased spend on advertising and promotions by 2.2% during the quarter.
Sales volume growth in the first three months of the year increased 7.6% while prices dropped 3.3% reflecting the company’s 2009 price cutting strategy.
Paul Polman, Unilever CEO says the growth was driven by the “quickening pace of innovation” and the introduction of brands such as Cif, Domestos, Lifebuoy and Lipton into new markets.
He adds: “We have continued to invest more in advertising and promotions to build brand equities and support the rollout of our innovations.
Unilever global chief marketing officer Keith Weed revealed last week that the company would pursue crowdsourcing to develop ad content for 13 of its biggest brands.
Former Unilever global chief marketing officer Simon Clift announced this morning that he has joined the board of agency network Engine as a non-executive director.