Leading the charge to remove 10 billion calories from foodservice menus by the end of 2015 and committing to 100 percent sustainably sourced agricultural raw ingredients are two ways that Leo Oosterveer, chief executive officer of Unilever Food Solutions, has illustrated his commitment to make powerful changes in the food industry.
In recognition of these efforts, Mr. Oosterveer will receive the prestigious 2014 Augie Leadership Award for Sustainability and Food Ethics bestowed by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) tonight during a gala dinner at New York’s Grand Hyatt. This year’s award theme is “The Power of Food.”
With a global customer base of around 2 million foodservice outlets and icon brands Knorr, Hellmann’s, and Lipton, Unilever Food Solutions’ CEO recognizes that small changes can make a big impact for healthier living and the environment.
“Unilever Food Solutions is aiming to co-create sustainable solutions with its customers," says Oosterveer. "The strong portfolio of brands and services is making a real difference for operators, distributors, and society as a whole. Never has it been so important to show that you can do well, by doing good."
By 2020, Unilever Food Solutions aims to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, halve its environmental footprint, and enhance the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people as its business grows. Unilever Food Solutions is taking the following steps to deliver on those 2020 goals.
- Seductive Nutrition: More and more, people want to eat healthier when dining out, but are concerned that healthy dishes may not taste good. To help chefs and restaurateurs balance health and appeal, Unilever Food Solutions developed an approach called “Seductive Nutrition” that encourages chefs to pledge to make small changes to menu items that reduce calories. So far, chefs in 8,500 locations in North America have taken the pledge, resulting in nearly 2 billion calories being removed from menus.
- Sustainable Sourcing: As the foodservice industry grows, so does the demand for high-quality ingredients. Unilever Food Solutions is committed to sustainably sourcing 100 percent of its agricultural raw materials by 2020. Unilever was the first major tea company to commit to sustainable sourcing on a large scale. By 2015, 100 percent of Lipton teas will be Rainforest Alliance Certified. The company has also set up 25 Knorr landmark farms to demonstrate best practice sustainable farming.
- United Against Waste: Reducing waste touches every stage of the foodservice cycle: from purchasing and storage to food preparation. Currently in 15 countries, the United Against Waste program from Unilever Food Solutions offers in-operation tools and signage to help reduce and redirect waste.
- Food Safety: Unilever Food Solutions offers food safety training and tools to foodservice operators around the world. In China, Unilever partners with the State Food and Drug Administration to deliver Food Safety Workshops and tools. In Southeast Asia, partnerships with local governments have resulted in 11,500 chefs earning Food Safety certifications.