Unilever’s Hellmann’s to deliver ‘impulse’ groceries in first direct-to-consumer tests

Hellmann's invests in direct-to-consumer

Unilever-owned brand Hellmann’s has embarked on its first direct-to-consumer trial, delivering fresh ingredients for people cooking a new recipe on impulse.

The brand has partnered with Quiqup, an on-demand delivery service, for the tests and will use its platform and app. In it, users will be able to choose a recipe and have all of the ingredients at their door within an hour.

“We recognised that consumers are looking to technology to help make their cooking and eating habits quicker and easier,” said Joanna Allen, VP of global brand for Hellmann’s.

“By offering consumers the opportunity to directly shop the Hellmann’s recipes, we free up consumers’ time to focus on what they enjoy most - the pleasure of eating great tasting food. As a brand that originated in a deli, it’s an important opportunity for us to return to direct-to-consumer servicing.”

Hellmann’s worked with the Unilever Foundry – the company’s network of start-ups, of which Quiqup is a member – to develop the concept that it said is targeted at millennial shoppers, in London, who are likely to make ‘impulse purchases’.

The ingredients will also come from a spectrum of retailers which Quiqup currently works with, including household name supermarkets such as Tesco to small independent grocers.

“Today’s consumers have come to expect businesses to offer fast, flexible and efficient delivery options because they recognise the scarcity of time and want to make the most of what they have,” said Bassel El Koussa, the start-up’s founder and chief executive.

“Our technology enables Hellmann’s to remain relevant to new audiences and adapt to changing digital consumer lifestyles.”

FMCG brands like Unilever have been increasingly experimenting with direct-to-consumer models; seduced by the promise of cutting out the retail middle-man as digital sales of FMCG goods hit $130bn within the decade.

Unilever dropped $1bn on subscription shaving start-up Dollar Shave Club in last year and has been slowly taking some of the learnings from that business to its other brands, like Hellmann's.

However, industry observers have warned that there is a risk of getting too caught up in the promise of D2C as a silver bullet to getting closer to consumers.

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Jennifer Faull

Jen Faull is Brands Editor at The Drum. Based in London, she has interviewed major business figures including top marketers from Mondelez, Unilever, Tesco, and Lidl.

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