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Unilever Grows Urban Farming Commitment with New Brand
Illinois Ag Connection - 03/09/2018

Unilever announced today the expansion of its U.S. urban farming efforts with the launch of Growing Roots, a new organic, plant-based food brand that will support urban farming with every purchase. The brand builds on Unilever's multiyear commitment to urban farming initiatives, which establishes and funds partnerships to unlock access to fresh foods and nutrition education in communities across the country.

"What's so special about Growing Roots is that it started as a social mission that our employees were passionate about, borne from the belief that everyone should have access to affordable, nutritious food," said Matthew McCarthy, vice president of foods, Unilever North America. "Seeing the transformational impact urban farms have in communities, we created a brand from the ground up to help fulfill and extend that mission."

In 2015, Unilever joined an innovative, public-private partnership with the city of New York's Building Healthy Communities initiative and Green City Force to create six urban farms in New York, which together have already generated approximately 32,000 pounds of organic produce. In addition to the company providing funds, Unilever employees volunteer thousands of hours each year to these efforts. Based on the program's successful community impact in New York, Unilever has extended outreach to Los Angeles, Houston, Miami and Chicago as well. By directing 50 percent of its profits to urban farming initiatives, the Growing Roots brand allows Unilever to build a sustainable model for long-term community impact.

"Green City Force is pleased to be part of a New York City initiative that places young people from public housing communities at the forefront of community engagement and access to fresh produce and vibrant open spaces," said Lisbeth Shepherd, Founder and Executive Director of Green City Force. "We value Unilever's partnership in this work in New York and are grateful for their continued support of urban farming."

Marking Unilever's entry to the U.S. organic snack category, the Growing Roots product line includes snack bites and clusters made from organic ingredients like coconut, corn and seeds. Growing Roots snacks feature simple, plant-based ingredients:

- Cocoa Chipotle: Cocoa gets a kick from chipotle peppers for a deeply flavorful snack experience.

- Pineapple Coconut Rum: Real pineapple, a splash of rum and a dash of cinnamon come together for a sweet and tangy tropical taste.

- Maple Bourbon: Blended with a touch of real maple syrup and a dash of nutmeg for a lightly sweet and warming crunchy snack.

- Coconut Curry: A balance of coconut with turmeric and lemongrass to create a savory, spicy flavor.

The new line is USDA-certified organic, certified gluten-free, certified vegan and an excellent source of ALA Omega-3 (contains 480-640mg of ALA per 28g serving which is 30-40 percent of the 1.6g Daily Value for ALA).

Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of Personal Care, Food & Refreshment and Home Care products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. In the United States, the portfolio includes brand icons such as Axe, Ben & Jerry's, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock, Degree, Dollar Shave Club, Dove, Good Humor, Hellmann's, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, Klondike, Knorr, Lever 2000, Lipton, Love Beauty and Planet, Magnum, Nexxus, Noxzema, Pond's, Popsicle, Promise, Pure Leaf, Q-tips, Schmidt's Naturals, Seventh Generation, Simple, Sir Kensington's, St. Ives, Suave, Sundial Brands, Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto, TAZO, TIGI, TONI&GUY, TRESemme and Vaseline. Unilever employs approximately 8,000 people in the United States -- generating more than $9 billion in sales in 2017.

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