FOR years, Marmite adverts have jokily been asking us if we either love it or hate it.
But maker Unilever has revealed that the yeast extract’s future will not be decided by this obvious question. The consumer giant has said Marmite has to do more than be tasty – it has to prove it has a “purpose” as a force for good. The spread is just one of the top labels that could be sold off abroad as part of Unilever’s quest to develop a more sustainable business model. Other favourites include Magnum ice creams and the humble Pot Noodle. Unilever’s chief executive Alan Jope said it “didn’t matter” if products were money-spinners and warned brands could be ditched if they did not “contribute meaningfully to the world or society in a way that will last for decades”.
Mr Jope added: “Principles are only principles when they cost you something.” A number of Unilever’s 400-plus brands have already been deemed to have a “purpose”.
They include 28 items that have been classed as “sustainable living brands” – including Knorr stock cubes and Persil washing powder.
Together, they account for half of Unilever’s sales and are growing faster than its other brands.
Another brand with a purpose is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, which has been very outspoken when it comes to legalising marijuana in the US.
Its website says: “Almost everybody looking to cash in on the booming pot business is white. And almost everybody arrested for using pot is black.”
Ben & Jerry’s is also hoping its new cannabis ice cream containing CBD oil – a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the cannabis plant – will be a big hit with consumers.