Unilever to Remove Hydrogenated Oils across Entire Soft Spreads Portfolio in U.S. by Early 2010
Quality Improvement across Four Iconic National Brands Eliminates Artificial Trans Fats while Maintaining Taste and Low Saturated Fat Content
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer products companies, today announced that its entire soft (tub) spreads portfolio in the United States will have no partially hydrogenated oils and therefore no trans fats per serving by the second quarter of 2010.
“As the category leader with a portfolio of leading brands enjoyed by families across the country, we’re proud to make a commitment that will have a positive impact on the health and wellness of millions of our loyal consumers.”
After an extensive three-year research and development effort, Unilever has begun removing the partially hydrogenated vegetable oil from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®, Brummel & Brown®, Shedd’s Spread Country Crock® and Imperial® soft spread products sold in tub formats, thereby eliminating the artificial trans fats in these products. The company committed to doing so while ensuring that the saturated fat content of these spreads remains as low as possible (2 grams or less per serving), consistent with dietary guidance to limit saturated fat intake. Product taste and performance will not change.
“We have been a global leader in the production and innovation of spreads for over 50 years,” said John LeBoutillier, senior vice president and general manager, U.S. Foods, Unilever. “As the category leader with a portfolio of leading brands enjoyed by families across the country, we’re proud to make a commitment that will have a positive impact on the health and wellness of millions of our loyal consumers.”
“The ultimate goal is to further reduce trans fats in the American diet, while maintaining lower levels of saturated fat than butter and many other soft spreads on the market,” LeBoutillier added. “This is an important step for Unilever, a company driven by our Vitality mission to meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people look good, feel good and get more out of life.”
Over the past half-century, Unilever has focused on lowering the level of saturated fat and trans fats in its spreads, while increasing the amount of essential fats to optimize their nutritional benefits. The company was at the forefront over 10 years ago to begin voluntarily reducing trans fats from its food products. In addition, since undertaking its global Nutrition Enhancement Program in 2005, Unilever has voluntarily eliminated more than 33,000 US tons of trans fat and 20,000 US tons of saturated fats from its food and beverage portfolio.
“I commend Unilever on its approach to reducing trans fat levels while keeping lower levels of saturated fat than many other competitive products, including butter,” said Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, LD, FADA, Director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, and past president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). “Leading health authorities have made it clear that it is advisable for consumers to limit both saturated and trans fats in their diets, and, in making this change, Unilever will continue to have a portfolio that provides consumers with better nutrition choices.”
Beginning in 2008, Unilever undertook a global effort to educate consumers about the types and quality of fats in the diet. The company sponsored an international symposium in early 2009, held under the auspices of the International Union of Nutrition Sciences (IUNS). The session drew 40 nutrition and health experts from around the world to create an international scientific consensus on guidelines for the optimal quality of fat in the diet.
In the United States, Unilever’s “Big Fat Truth” campaign launched in December 2008, educating consumers on the nutrition facts about vegetable oil-based spreads, how they fit into a healthy diet, and their benefits as a better nutrition option than butter.
Unilever Soft Spreads
Unilever manufactures soft tub spreads under the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®, Shedd’s Spread Country Crock®, Brummel & Brown®, Promise®, Promise activ®, and Imperial® brand names. Soft spreads are made with a blend of nutritious vegetable oils including soybean and canola, and contain 70% less saturated fat than butter, have no cholesterol, and are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, with many providing excellent sources of Omega-3 ALA. All Unilever soft (tub) spreads have 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving, and with this formulation change, will contain no hydrogenated oils and no trans fat per serving.
Unilever’s mission is to add vitality to life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Each day, around the world, consumers make 160 million decisions to purchase Unilever products.
In the United States, the portfolio includes major brand icons such as: Axe, Ben & Jerry's, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann's, Klondike, Knorr, Lipton, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Suave, Sunsilk and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Dedicated to serving consumers and the communities where we live, work and play, Unilever employs nearly 12,000 people in both the United States and Puerto Rico – generating nearly $10 billion in sales in 2008. For more information, visit www.unileverusa.com.