Unilever Adopts New Initiative So Customers Know What’s In Its Products

Just reading a label on the packaging of home and personal care products can be frustrating, particularly when it comes to fragrances. One company wants its customers to have access to more information. Unilever recently announced a new initiative that allows its customers to find out what ingredients are in the multi-national company’s products. Unilever brands in the U.S. include Ben & Jerry’s, Best Foods, Breyers, Klondike, Lipton, Degree, Axe, Q-Tips, and Vaseline.

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The new transparency initiative, which launches in the U.S. and Europe, provides more than information on labels. Disclosing fragrance ingredients is part of the new initiative, and Unilever aims to complete the disclosure by 2018. Starting this year, Unilever will voluntarily disclose the fragrance ingredients in products down to 0.01 percent of the product formulation. The company will also disclose the details of the scent the fragrance ingredients brings.

Part of the disclosure of the fragrance ingredients includes more allergen information. Unilever products in Europe already include fragrance allergens on the label, as required by regulations. The company will add fragrance allergens to personal care product labels in the U.S. In addition, a new online search tool is being launched so people with allergies can find products suitable for them.

Unilever’s new initiative has the potential to alter the personal care and fragrance markets given the reach of the company. “The new initiative by Unilever is ground-breaking. It will not only provide consumers with the first significant view of the complex mixture of ingredients used in ‘fragrance’ in personal care products, but will undoubtedly put pressure on other major cosmetics companies to provide the same level of transparency,” Nneka Leiba, Deputy Director of Research at EWG told Naturally Savvy. “The decades’ long shield of secrecy that has cloaked the international fragrance industry has been cracked open by Unilever’s decision to provide more information to its customers.”

A What’s in our Products section on Unilever websites gives customers access to information beyond what the label provides. The new section has information such as the company’s approach to developing safe products, explanations of ingredient types, and answers to common customer questions. Product information will include fragrance ingredients to make it easy for someone to look up ingredients.

“We strongly believe that providing this transparency will help build further trust in Unilever and our brands,” said Unilever’s Chief Research and Development Officer, David Blanchard in a statement.

Unilever is using the digital tool SmartLabel to give people easy and instant access to product information. A SmartLabel page provides information from a product’s label like ingredients and nutrition facts, but it also provides information like ingredients standards and product advisories. The Grocery Manufacturers Association developed the SmartLabel app with the sponsorship of Unilever U.S. A consumer can use the app to scan a product’s UPC barcode to instantly find out information on the product’s SmartLabel page on their cell phones or tablets.

Read about fragrances

By Gina-Marie Cheeseman| February 10, 2017
Categories:  Live

About the Author

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer armed with a passion for healthy living and a degree in journalism. Hailing from the dry, sunny Central San Joaquin Valley, she hasn't let the heat fry her brain!

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