Unilever cutting 7,500 jobs and splitting off ice cream division

Article by Aniqah Majid

Patcharaporn Puttipon4289, Shutterstock
The job losses will predominantly effect office-based roles

BEN & JERRY’S and Marmite owner Unilever is set to split off its ice cream division and axe 7,500 jobs as part of a major cost-cutting overhaul.

The British multinational aims to save around €800m (US$867m) over the next three years through the demerger, which will see popular brands like Wall’s and Magnum serving under a standalone business.

Unilever’s decision is part of its growth action plan to do “fewer things better” and focus on the topline growth of its other brands like Dove and Domestos in its beauty & wellbeing and homecare divisions.

Strain on UK industry

Unilever employs 6,000 workers across ten locations in the UK and Ireland. Its manufacturing site in Gloucester produces all its ice cream brands for the UK.

The job losses, which are almost 6% of Unilever’s 128,000 workforce, will predominantly affect office-based roles.

Hein Schumacher, CEO of Unilever said: “We are committed to carrying out our productivity programme in consultation with employee representatives, and with respect and care for those of our people who are impacted.”

A split in company interest

The ice cream division delivered a turnover of €7.9bn in 2023, which was significantly lower than that of its other verticals which generated an average of €12.9bn.

Unilever melted down the separation of ice cream to a difference in operating models, with the four other divisions, which include personal care, and nutrition, having more in common in terms of routes to market, R&D, and manufacturing and distribution systems.

Schumacher said: “Simplifying our portfolio and driving greater productivity will allow us to further unlock the potential of this business, supporting our ambition to position Unilever as a world-leading consumer goods company delivering strong, sustainable growth and enhanced profitability.”

The demerger of the ice cream division will begin immediately, and Unilever expects a full separation by the end of 2025. 

Article by Aniqah Majid

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

Recent Editions

Catch up on the latest news, views and jobs from The Chemical Engineer. Below are the four latest issues. View a wider selection of the archive from within the Magazine section of this site.