FEATURE16 March 2020

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FMCG Features Impact UK

Christina Habib is part of a senior insights organisation within Unilever looking to build better customer understanding into innovation. She believes businesses need to innovate differently, experiment more – and research agencies should be partners. By Katie McQuater


In big companies, as well as start-ups, there is a lot of hyperactivity around innovation. But actually very little gets adopted, and the challenge is that people are inundated with choice, ” says Christina Habib. As global vice-president of insights for Unilever’s food and refreshments division, she is focused on changing the way the FMCG giant approaches innovation.

With a vast array of products for consumers to choose from in a crowded marketplace, meeting people’s needs and desires in a sustainable way has become a difficult challenge for today’s FMCG companies, explains Habib. “We needed to innovate differently. We were just adding incremental value – a new ice cream flavour or new soap fragrance. That was just creating a proliferation of choice, with no significant value.There is a genuine need to change the way we innovate by putting the power in the hands of the people and not manufacturers.”

The company set up an internal organisation of insight leaders to change the way it obtains insight on innovation – shifting away from ...