Anglo-Dutch consumer products group Unilever is to launch a number of chilled food products in core European markets in the autumn.
Unilever, which has been divesting a number of non-core assets over the last few years as part of its Path to Growth plan, will target chilled dairy products and ready meals sectors in several countries from September, according to a report from Dow Jones.
Unilever's chief executive Anthony Burgmans said that the company was planning to introduce three alternative dairy cream products in the Netherlands, France and Germany as well as in smaller European countries in order to tap into the significant growth potential there.
The reports claims that the market for chilled dairy-cream products in the Netherlands is estimated at €1.3 billion, with growth of between 4 and 5 per cent a year.
At the same time, the Anglo-Dutch group will unveil a range of chilled ready meals under the Conimex name, again in the Netherlands. This market is estimated to be worth around €138 million and growing at 16 per cent each year.
Unilever has already started selling Italian, Asian and Dutch meal ingredients to restaurants, caterers, grocers and butchers in the Netherlands under the Bertolli, Conimex and Unox brands.
The push into the chilled food sector is the second major element of Unilever's expansion drive. Earlier this year the company announced a major overhaul of its Heart brand ice cream business, which operates under a number of different names (Ola, Wall's, Algida, etc.) in different countries.