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How Unilever International is serving up a taste of home


Unilever International’s (UI) first Diaspora stand at Gulfood, the world’s biggest food exhibition, clearly hit a sweet spot this year, unlocking new channels to market for Unilever’s beloved local food brands. We take a look at how UI is feeding a market hungry for the foods they grew up with.

A stand at Gulfood exhibition with shelves of food and branded posters

What is the taste of home?

Ask someone from India and they’ll probably mention brands like Bru coffee and Kissan ketchup, while Lizano salsa sauce will no doubt come up if you ask someone from Costa Rica.

Ask a Filipino and they might relish the thought of creamy Lady’s Choice mayonnaise, while Pakistanis might long for the taste of Rafhan custard.

People often leave their home country, but do their homes ever leave them?

Not, it would appear, when it comes to food.

Bringing the taste of home to the world

Proving that distance does indeed make the heart, or in this case, the tastebuds, grow fonder, customer loyalty to brands seems to grow when they move to countries where they are no longer available.

Although there is no accurate figure available of exactly how large the global diaspora food opportunity is, it is estimated that there are 281 million people who live outside their home country and that the market for their home brands is estimated to be around €50 billion.*

Although clearly a lucrative white space, matching migrants around the world with their favoured niche local brands is not simple.

It involves navigating not only the complexities of cross-border importation but also the complications of a highly segmented portfolio aimed at an equally complex matrix of customers concentrated in a multitude of geographical pockets.

Winning in niche segments

Unilever International (UI), however, has several advantages in dealing with these barriers to market. Its extensive experience in serving under-served markets, channels, brands and consumers means it can use multiple channels, ranging from neighbourhood shops to e-commerce platforms, to bring favourite food brands to consumers outside their ‘home’ markets.

As Aseem Puri, CEO, Unilever International says, “UI’s agile global marketing model and cross-border sales expertise allow us to target niche diaspora segments, giving us the ability to bring local brands to anyone craving a taste of their home country.”

Hanneke Faber, President of Nutrition, Unilever, agrees.

People want to hold on to their memories of home that are so often linked to food. Unilever International is our trusted partner to help bring the taste of home to them through our brands, wherever they are,” she says.


Unilever estimate for categories where we operate.

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