Unilever to offload Birds Eye as part of frozen food sell-off

LONDON - Unilever has confirmed it is to sell off its Birds Eye frozen foods brand, after unsuccessfully trying to boost its image and sales last year.

The sale of the brand, most famous for its Captain Birds Eye advertising campaigns, is part of a sell-off of almost its entire European frozen foods business.

Unilever's Italian frozen food business including the Findus brand, as well as the ice-cream portfolio, have been spared the axe.

The sell-off of Birds Eye comes as the brand struggled to shed an unhealthy image in recent years, despite a £60m overhaul of its range last year.

Patrick Cescau, Unilever group chief executive, said: "Deciding to put the majority of our European frozen food business up for sale has been a tough call. It has been a successful business for us over many years and we've built some great brands for consumers with memorable advertising.

"However, although we have made great progress in increasing profitability in recent years growth has been harder to come by."

He added that the decision followed a review of the business which started last September and concluded that selling was "the best way for us to create value" for Unilever.

This latest decision does not affect the Bertolli-branded frozen business in the US.

The total turnover of the frozen foods business, which employs around 3,500 people outside of Italy, is €2bn.

This latest announcement comes as Unilever reveals a pre-tax profit rise by 27% to €4.7bn from €3.7bn. 

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum.

You have

[DAYS_LEFT] Days left

of your free trial

Subscribe now

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).