Brands and innovation are at the heart of everything we do. We focus on rolling out more innovations faster and to more markets.
Meeting changing consumer needs
“Unilever’s key goal is to double the size of our business while reducing our overall environmental impact. And innovation is core to that aim,” says Geneviève Berger, Chief Research & Development Officer.
“Across the global business, our R&D teams work on cutting-edge science with a consumer focus that we can quickly convert into commercially viable applications. R&D is also the place where we invent what the consumer needs and even where we invent what he doesn’t know he needs – or what he is dreaming of.”
Unilever’s R&D priorities are to be inventive, develop great quality brands, and obtain scientific proof that all our products deliver on their claims. Our innovations are also supported by clinical trials to ensure safety for consumers and compliance with international regulations.
Innovation & our brands
“Innovation is one of the key levers we can pull to drive growth in the business. It’s the life-blood of our business and our brands,” explains Michael Polk, President, Global Foods, Home and Personal Care.
“Through our comprehensive portfolio of products designed to meet the needs of diverse consumers around the world, we believe we have the opportunity to deliver timely and far-reaching impacts on society.”
Successful innovation is based on deep consumer understanding. The balance we seek to achieve is to marry our global strength in science and technology with our knowledge of people’s habits, tastes and behaviours.
“We aim to give consumers a great experience when they use our brands – better than the competition. We are increasingly identifying a funnel of new ideas that disrupt the norm in all our categories – foods, home and personal care. And having the ability to move these ideas across categories further unlocks new market opportunities,” says Michael.
“Just as importantly our focus in innovation also covers areas such as design, packaging, marketing and advertising, in order to get our brand benefits across more persuasively.”
Among the interesting developments over the last few years, have been the launch of Dove Nutrium Moisture which offers skin essential nourishment, and Knorr Stock Pot, an intensely flavoured jelly-based bouillon. We’re increasingly focusing on applying knowledge across categories to create products too, such as Signal White Now toothpaste which was developing by using a variation on a unique brightening agent first discovered by our laundry specialists.
Innovation through expertise
“Our ability to apply breakthrough technology and science across categories is enabling us to benefit from much bigger market opportunities than we previously imagined,” sums up Geneviève.
“R&D improves the quality and functionality of our products. It streamlines our manufacturing and distribution networks. It drives cost savings. In fact, across many areas of the business, it is absolutely critical.”