After bringing Hindustan Unilever's fledgling food business to a respectable position, Geetu Verma, since 2018, has been busy scripting parent company Unilever's journey in nutrition and natural food products, as Global Vice President, Nutrition and Natural Platforms. Verma is particularly proud of the work she and her team have done in the plant-based meat space. "This is a space which is rapidly accelerating with consumers especially in the developed world, replacing meat with plant-based protein, driven primarily by health concerns. Our work has involved scoping M&A opportunities in this space, understanding key emerging technologies, calling out opportunities for growth," she says. Unilever recently acquired Vegetarian Butcher.
Verma has also been focussing on expanding Unilever's 'healthy snacking' portfolio. "Meal-times are even more fragmented today. People want to have access to healthier snacking options when they want and wherever they want," she says. Besides developing the marketing mix for an organic play in this space, Verma's team has recently acquired a healthy snacks brand, Graze, which is now being expanded beyond the UK in select European markets.
Just as India has seen a surge in demand in immunity building products, there is a similar trend in global markets too. Verma says that there is a verbalised need for products and solutions, which are fresh and therefore locally sourced. "Consumers are looking for more natural and functional products that contain Vitamin-C and Zinc for enhanced immunity."