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Annual review of the global top 50 FMCG giants (2008)

Global suppliers are focussing on their billionaire brands and reaping the rewards in spite of the economy.

There’s not much you can do with olive oil.  At least that was the rationale behind Unilever’s decision to offload its Bertolli olive oil business to Grupo SOS in a £500m sale last month.

Bertolli is one of the world’s leading olive oil brands, yet Unilever says there is little scope for innovation and development around the range – unlike the brand’s sauces, spreads and frozen meals, which the supplier intends to keep.

In the past eight years Unilever has reduced its portfolio of brand names from 1,600 to 400.  Divesting itself of the olive oil interest was just another step in an ongoing journey to refocus on its core business.  It’s a strategy that means Unilever’s 12 leading ‘billionaire brands’ which include the likes of Knorr, Surf, Dove and Hellmann’s, now account for more than 60% of its turnover …


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