Ice Cream Value Growth Figures in Unilever Sales Gain
Unilever’s Refreshment division, driven by ice cream products lines, accounted for EUR 5.5 billion of the Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company’s EUR 27 billion in sales during the first half of 2015. The group total was up 12%, including currency impact of 10%, over the same period in 2014.
“Refreshment grew solidly in value despite volumes being slightly down against a strong prior year performance,” stated CEO Paul Polman on July 23. “We upgraded the mix in ice cream with innovations behind the premium brands, such as Magnum Pink and Black variants, Ben & Jerry’s Cores range, and the new flavors of Breyer’s Gelato. The recent acquisition, Talenti, started off well, benefitting from increased distribution in the United States.”
Core operating margin was up 60 basis points, with a strong reduction in overhead. Core operating profit increased by EUR 0.1 billion at EUR 0.6 billion.
Revenues generated in the Foods division (including wet and dry soups, baked goods, cooking oils and spreads) totaled EUR 6.4 billion. As usual, turnover was highest in the Personal Care division, where sales amounted to EUR 9.9 billion. Meanwhile, Home Care product receipts hit EUR 5.2 billion.
Overall, consumer demand was weak and volumes were flat. Emerging markets, where volume rose 1.9% and price was up 4%, continued to be subdued. In Europe and North America growth was negligible. Underlying sales growth was 2.9%, with volume up 1.1% and price up 1.7%.
"The first half demonstrates again the progress we have made in the transformation of Unilever to deliver consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible growth, now in the seventh year,” said Polman. “The sharpened strategies across each of our four categories and a step-up in our innovation pipeline are increasingly driving our growth and margin expansion in a continued challenging environment. Equally, on the cost side we continue to exceed the objectives set with project Half, enabling us to strengthen the investment behind our brands and to extend into premium segments and new markets.”