SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

News > Suppliers

Read more breaking news

 

 

Unilever hints at offloading Ragu and SlimFast brands as food sales fall short

By Nathan Gray+

24-Apr-2014
Last updated on 24-Apr-2014 at 16:21 GMT2014-04-24T16:21:50Z

Unilever hints at offloading Ragu and SlimFast brands as food sales fall short

Food and consumer goods giant Unilever has hinted at the sale of brands including Ragu and SlimFast as growth from its food business struggles to compete with better-than-expected Q1 results in other divisions.

The food, drink, personal care and home goods giant reported underlying sales growth 3.6%, with emerging markets up 6.6%, across the whole of its business during the first quarter of 2014. However, turnover was down by 6.3% to €11.4bn, including a negative impact from currency exchange rates of 8.9%.

Despite positive growth in other areas of its portfolio, the firm also saw a 1.7% decrease in underlying sales within its food business, as market growth continued to slow in the emerging markets and developed markets remained weak.

"The decline in Foods was largely explained by the later timing of Easter and I am confident that we are now taking the right actions to improve performance," said Unilever CEO Paul Polman. "We are now gaining market share in margarines in Europe and North America in response to our investment in communicating the improved taste and naturalness of our brands."

Unilever saw the strongest growth in terms of underlying sales in its refreshment division, with the business witnessing a 5.9% rise. Personal care and home care saw underlying sales growth of 4.2% and 2.2% respectively.

Sale on the horizon?

In line with the UK-Dutch company's 'commitment to rigorously review our portfolio', Unilever said it will be undertaking a strategic review of its North America pasta sauces business - including the Ragu brand - and the SlimFast brand.

"It may lead to a disposal but it doesn't necessarily have to," commented Chief Financial Officer Jean Marc Huet. "We're looking at all options."

However, speculation has been mounting over a possible sale in recent weeks, with reports that firms including Heinz, Kraft, Pinnacle, Hormel Foods, and Hillshire Brands may be in contention for the purchase of the Ragu brand.

Unilever has already offloaded its Bifi and Peperami brands as it focuses on its health and beauty business.

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Fytexia
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Indena
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Capsugel
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Ingredion
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
NSF-International
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Roquette
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars