U.S. Spotlight Index

Global Index

India Spotlight Index

Global Index 2018


1 (2015)





Product Profile


Nutrition General

A Governance (12.5%)
B Products (25%)
C Accessibility (20%)
D Marketing (20%)
E Lifestyles (2.5%)
F Labeling (15%)
G Engagement (5%)


A Governance (12.5%)
B Products (25%)
C Accessibility (20%)
D Marketing (20%)
E Lifestyles (2.5%)
F Labeling (15%)
G Engagement (5%)

Corporate Profile

# of employees
Market capitalization
$51,914 m
Reported product categories
Canned / Preserved Food, Ice Cream, Noodles, Oils, Sauces, Soups, Soft and hot drinks, Spreads
Total revenues*
$53,272 m
Reported revenue by geography**
Asia 40%, Americas 32%, Europe 27%
* Source: Morningstar, USD historic exchange rate ** Source: Morningstar

Main areas of strength

• Unilever’s score has increased from 6.4 (out of 10) in 2016, to 6.7 in 2018. Despite this slight increase, the company now ranks second on the 2018 Global Index.
• Unilever is a strong performer across most categories of the ATNI methodology. From its high-ranking 2016 performance the company has shown incremental improvements across most categories. However, the company has lost its leading position in the overall ranking and on healthy product formulation (Category B) because other companies have improved more.
• Unilever has a comprehensive, global governance system and a clear focus on health and nutrition through its Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, which contains three overarching goals including 'Improving Health and Well-being'. The company commits to contribute to SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being) through this approach, which is fully integrated into its business strategy and, according to Unilever, is commercially successful.
• Unilever’s commitments on responsible marketing to all consumers and to children are strong. It only markets healthy products to children aged 7-12 and it has recently updated this approach by implementing stricter nutritional criteria for healthy products. As in 2016, the company publishes its individual level of policy compliance achieved relating to marketing to children, as assessed through a global industry association.
• Unilever has introduced a ‘Global Maternal Well-being Standard’ in 2017, setting a minimum standard of care and support for female employees. It is one of only three companies that arranges paid maternity leave between 3-6 months and provides other support for breastfeeding mothers as well.
• Addressing undernutrition is a strong focus within Unilever’s commercial strategy. Unilever has changed its non-commercial approach, which was driven through the company Foundation previously, but is now integrated within commercial category strategies. Unilever works in partnerships with relevant organizations to fight undernutrition in higher-priority countries.

Priority areas for improvement

• Unilever reports that 35% of its sales volume is derived from products that meet the company’s definition of healthy. The Product Profile assessment, using the Health Star Rating (HSR) system across nine countries, estimated the percentage of healthy products to be substantially lower, and a similar discrepancy was found for the percentage of products that met nutritional criteria to be suitable to be marketed to children. Unilever should therefore review its NPS to ensure that its nutritional criteria align with internationally recognized systems such as the HSR system.
• Unilever ranks twelfth on the Product Profile assessment with a score of 4.2 out of ten, based on an assessment of their major product categories in nine countries. Unilever was estimated to derive only 10% of its total sales from healthy products, i.e. achieving a rating of 3.5 stars or more on the HSR system. These findings illustrate that Unilever has significant scope to improve the healthiness of its portfolio through product reformulation, innovation and/or portfolio changes.
• Similar to 2016, Unilever does not define product reformulation targets to increase the levels of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes or whole grains in relevant products. This aspect is also missing from its otherwise well-designed and implemented NPS.
• Despite making broad commitments to improve the affordability and accessibility of its healthy and fortified products, Unilever is encouraged to develop and/or disclose a global strategy with concrete objectives to ensure the affordability and accessibility of its healthy and fortified products for low-income groups in developed and developing countries.
• Unilever’s responsible marketing strategy could be further improved by extending its commitments to refrain from marketing in or near primary and secondary schools, and by applying a stricter audience threshold, lowering it from 35% to the leading practice level of 25%.

Improving nutrition for all

The Access to Nutrition Index rates food and beverage manufacturers´ nutrition-related policies, practices and disclosures worldwide on a recurring basis.


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