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July 26, 2019

With a slump in sales in the ice cream industry, Unilever must innovate to thrive

Signs of cracks within Unilever’s ice cream division are also beginning to show as regional competitors roar ahead with innovative health-based alternatives.

By GlobalData Consumer

Unilever has missed its sales forecasts in the first half of the year as ice cream sales are hit by poor weather and healthier, innovative competitors in North America and Europe.

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Unilever- A Deep-dive into Product Launches and Advertising Strategy

Unilever product advertising is mainly through mainstream TV channels. Out of the products advertised so far at least 50% (over 850) of ads have been run on TV, while print media comes second with 496 ads. Unilever also utilizes social media platforms for advertisement. Unilever products are categorized by innovation ratings and tags in our product launch database. The North American region consists of almost 74 products with innovations related to the formulation of the product. Europe and other regions also have more products categorized under formulation-related innovation, followed by the packaging and positioning of the products. Most Unilever products are tagged with “High Vitamins”, “Recyclable”, and “Natural” tags to understand what the product differentiator is from other products available in the market. The majority of products belong to the personal care industry with a total of 5,788 products to date. This report, through the Unilever Example, illustrates how GlobalData Explorer enables you to:  
  • Track product launches by FMCG companies to get an understanding of the product-level strategies including geographic concentrations, innovation types, product claim, category focus and more
  • Monitoring the advertising strategies of various brands and gain insights into channel focus, regional focus, and more
  • Perform company-level analysis to understand business model, size, and geographic focus
Don’t miss out on key market insights that can help optimize your next investment – read the report now.
by GlobalData
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This is set against the backdrop of a successful year for the company, whose sustainable business model and increasing portfolio of purpose-led brands are helping deliver financial success to the firm.

Unilever ice cream sales cool

With a 0.5% decline in ice cream sales for the world’s largest producer of ice cream in the first half of 2019, the relatively temperate weather in North America and Europe compared to the last two years has a part to play in this downturn. Yet, signs of cracks within Unilever’s ice cream division are also beginning to show as regional competitors roar ahead with innovative health-based alternatives that seek to capture market share.

Only last month, Unilever’s factory in Nevada ceased its operations. The factory produced household names such as Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Breyers. This suggests a reorganisation of operations as sales begin to slump.

Furthermore, the rise of regional ice cream brands aims to disrupt Unilever’s dominant position by offering healthier, artisanal and more experimental alternatives to current brands within the industry. Perhaps Halo Top serves as the best example, with their health-based high-protein, low-fat and low-calorie ice cream representing a standout success amongst consumers in the USA. This represents a shift on a broader scale across the consumer industry. Cadbury ’s are cutting sugar content in their bars by 30% and Nestlé has just released a sugar-free version of the iconic Kit-Kat brand.

Nevertheless, there are signs that Unilever is stepping up its game in the industry. Unilever responded to Halo Top with their very own Culture Republick, even offering 10% of their profits to the arts in local communities.

In early 2019, Unilever’s Magnum brand launched its first-ever vegan ice cream. Moreover, Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s brand has just recently announced plans to develop a CBD infused ice cream, positioning itself as an early adopter in this new industry. Finally, Unilever has trialled wrapper-less ice cream aimed at curbing pollution and catering to eco-conscious consumers.

A recent report by GlobalData surveyed consumers and found that 74% always/ sometimes try new or different varieties of ice cream, and much of Unilever’s existing portfolio comes in the form of recognised brands consumers are likely to have already tried. Continued new product development may, therefore, allow them to beat back their competition.

Ultimately, if Unilever’s innovations in the ice cream sector are a success, it will be primed to steer its ice cream division into positive growth and slow the meteoric rise of regional upstart competitors.

Related report:

Global Take-Home and Bulk Ice Cream (Ice Cream) Market – Outlook to 2022: Market Size, Growth and Forecast Analytics

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img

Unilever- A Deep-dive into Product Launches and Advertising Strategy

Unilever product advertising is mainly through mainstream TV channels. Out of the products advertised so far at least 50% (over 850) of ads have been run on TV, while print media comes second with 496 ads. Unilever also utilizes social media platforms for advertisement. Unilever products are categorized by innovation ratings and tags in our product launch database. The North American region consists of almost 74 products with innovations related to the formulation of the product. Europe and other regions also have more products categorized under formulation-related innovation, followed by the packaging and positioning of the products. Most Unilever products are tagged with “High Vitamins”, “Recyclable”, and “Natural” tags to understand what the product differentiator is from other products available in the market. The majority of products belong to the personal care industry with a total of 5,788 products to date. This report, through the Unilever Example, illustrates how GlobalData Explorer enables you to:  
  • Track product launches by FMCG companies to get an understanding of the product-level strategies including geographic concentrations, innovation types, product claim, category focus and more
  • Monitoring the advertising strategies of various brands and gain insights into channel focus, regional focus, and more
  • Perform company-level analysis to understand business model, size, and geographic focus
Don’t miss out on key market insights that can help optimize your next investment – read the report now.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.