Unilever’s strategy to appeal to Millennials includes a new expansion of its Love Beauty & Planet line of natural and sustainable personal care products; the packaged goods giant is launching a Love Home & Planet line of cleaners, exclusively available at 500 select target stores, according to Glossy.
Millennial customers, in particular, want “purpose-led brands that make an impact,” says Piyush Jain, Unilever general manager and VP of marketing for US hair care. This is an opportunity for the company that is “larger than single categories,” he says.
Millennials with a Conscience…
According to social media software provider Digimind, Inc., 73% of Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products, but only if they’re convinced that the products are truly sustainable – and that the companies behind them behave in a sustainable manner, as well.
This group of consumers is helping drive the market for sustainable fast-moving consumer goods, according to recent Nielsen research. Sales of products with sustainable attributes have risen nearly 20% since 2014, with a compound annual growth rate of 3.5%. Today, sales of products with organic, sustainable or “clean” attributes make up 22% of the total store, and that number is expected to grow. Nielsen expects that share to hit 25% by 2021.
And while 48% of US consumers overall say they are definitely or probably changing their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment, that number is 75% among Millennials.
…But They Must Believe
But Millennials must be convinced that a company is truly walking the talk. “Created in the timespan roughly bookended by the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon environmental disasters, Millennials are naturally skeptical of companies large and small regarding their claims,” says Digimind CEO Mohammed El Haddar. Eighty-one percent of Millennials say they expect companies to publicly declare their social responsibility, and furthermore, they want proof of follow-through on those sustainability claims, El Haddar told Environmental Leader last year.
To track its environmental goals and inform consumers of its progress, Unilever maintains a Sustainable Living Report Hub. The Hub says that Unilever is focusing on using its resources as a business to address issues such as health and hygiene, gender equality, climate change and plastic packaging waste. “Business growth should not be at the expense of people and the planet. That’s why we’re changing the way we do business, and why we want to change the way business is done,” the website states.
Such growth includes Unilever’s acquisition of The Vegetarian Butcher, announced in December. The acquisition fits with Unilever’s strategy of expanding its portfolio into “plant-based foods that are healthier and have a lower environmental impact,” the company says.