The science behind success

The common thread running through all our R&D activities is a direct connection between science, technology and consumer needs.

Products that people want

Scientist looking at a sample in a test tube

Whether our researchers are looking at potential uses of emerging areas of science, or our chefs and product developers are exploring how to make a packet of soup taste better, they're always asking themselves what the benefit is for the consumer.

Our R&D experts are constantly developing innovations in nutrition, hygiene and personal care.

Striking a balance

As competition increases, the importance of rapid innovation becomes ever greater. But scientific breakthroughs can’t always be converted overnight into innovations preferred by consumers. R&D is all about finding the balance between long-term fundamental research and medium to short-term technological applications of the research results to deliver market-ready products.

Consumers & citizens

Consumers in the twenty-first century are also citizens, with social and environmental concerns increasingly at the top of their minds. But they don’t want to trade product efficacy for social and environmental benefits. They expect us to provide solutions that meet both these needs.

This requires in-depth scientific and technological expertise. We are working on an environmental metrics programme to quantitatively monitor and improve emissions of greenhouse gases (e.g. CO2), waste, water use in water stressed countries and sustainable sourcing of materials for all our innovations around the world.

Raising the bar

Innovation never stops. In today's globalised world the challenges and opportunities arise ever faster. Where R&D was once a local activity, we now have a closely linked global network of R&D centres, to build and use our expertise in the most effective and efficient way.

Our R&D expertise is applied across Foods and Home and Personal Care categories, again, maximising the return on the investment in R&D. Besides our internal R&D capabilities, we build expertise with external partners as well to deliver more breakthroughs, better solutions for consumers and faster growth for Unilever.

Back to top