Unilever boosts plant-based, sustainable products through Future Foods

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Unilever hopes to lead the global push towards more sustainable food solutions.

Through its Future Foods campaign, the global food and retail manufacturer said it is raising nutrition standards and is working to reduce food waste.

Kristine Go, Foods & Beverages Marketing Director at Unilever Philippines, said the goal is to push people to get into healthier diets while also reducing the environmental strain of people's food choices.

"We need a radical rethink of our food system if we want to feed the 10 billion people who will live on the planet by 2050 in a fair, sustainable, and nutritious way," Go told CNN Philippines' Rico Hizon.

"Our current way of producing and consuming food is exhausting the earth's resources and contributing to climate change, and one third of all food produced is lost or wasted," she added.

Unilever, the company behind brands like Knorr, Lady's Choice, Best Foods, and Selecta, is setting sights on a €1 billion (about ₱59 billion) global sales target from its earth-friendly products in five to seven years.

Globally, the goal is to halve food waste from Unilever's factory-to-shelf operations by 2025, while doubling the number of products supporting "positive nutrition." This involves increasing the vegetable, fruit, protein, and micronutrient content of its product line, while reducing calorie, salt, and sugar levels.

Unilever's global food portfolio has pledged that 85% if its products will help reduce salt intake by 2022, while 95% of packaged ice cream will limit sugar content at 22 grams and 250 kilocalories per serving.

The food maker has pledged to ensure all of its plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.

"We do this because as one of the world's largest food companies, we have a critical role to play in helping to transform the global food system," Go said.

Unilever has been expanding its plant-based meat and dairy alternatives. There's also a vegan Magnum ice cream and a dairy-free Ben & Jerry's flavor abroad.

In the Philippines, the multilateral company is charting the new path by sourcing raw materials for its products locally, while a Zero Waste to Landfill program is in place.

Other continuing initiatives include the Lutong Nanay Nutri Program, which teaches underprivileged moms to cook nutritious and delicious meals for their families, and the Knorr Landmark Sampalok farms that partners with small farm groups.

Individual consumers can take part in the campaign too. Go said people can become more conscious about their food sources, such as where their food and drinks come from and if these are responsibly and sustainably sourced.

"Consumers must also recognize their power to make this shift possible by demanding more and more companies to transform their value chains and produce healthier products that are healthy for everyone and for the planet," Go added.