Knorr: A Historic Brand Works for a Sustainable Future

With nearly 200 years of history, Knorr remains a top-selling global brand. Today, they are embracing their legacy of flavor and quality, while working on a better future for all of us. 

Around the world, more than 75% of people eat a diet based on just 12 plants and 5 animals. This lack of diversity isn’t healthy for our bodies, or for the planet. As a brand of Unilever, Knorr is working internally on sustainable, delicious, healthy products and ingredients, and also helping consumers make food choices that are good for the earth. 

Korr products

Knorr’s Sustainability Projects

Here are some of the ways that Knorr works with their global suppliers to produce products that are delicious, high in quality, and eco-friendly: 

  • Reducing water used in agriculture. Every year, we use about 70% of the world’s total surface water in farming. Weather and climate change make water availability and usage unpredictable and unsustainable, so Knorr is working with farmers and suppliers to find ways to reduce water. Some of the ways that Knorr farmers are reducing water is by using smart meters, recycling processes, and drip irrigation to provide just the right amount of water to plants when they need it. Water content is also crucial to the quality and taste of Knorr products, because reduced water concentrates sweetness and flavor, and makes ingredients faster to dry and process into Knorr’s famous stocks and boullions. Drying ingredients locks in the flavor and creates the high quality concentrates Knorr is known for, while also allowing products to be packed and distributed with fewer preservatives.
  • Natural pest control. Knorr farmers have reduced their use of chemical pesticides by over 30% since 2011. Organic and sustainable pest control measures include the innovative use of technology, like insect traps with cameras and monitors to determine specifically what kind and how many pests a crop has. When there are a lot of insects in the trap, the system automatically notifies the farmer, who can then determine the best intervention. Knorr farmers also look for natural ways to balance the ecosystem for improved pest control, like providing habitat for bats, lizards, and birds that prey on unwanted insects. 

Knorr’s Consumer Education Initiatives

Knorr also believes that our food choices have a huge impact on the environment, so they want all of us to work together for a more sustainable future. More than 60% of our global plant-based food intake consists of wheat, rice, and maize. This demand for such a limited range of foods leads to monoculture farming, which depletes the soil and increases susceptibility to pests and changes in weather and climate. Knorr wants to educate consumers to improve our diets and make more eco-friendly food choices. Knorr is working with consumers to:

Reduce consumption of meat and animal products. Animal farming for food requires an extremely high environmental investment in fresh water and grains for feeding. For example, it takes over 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, and only 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat. Replacing some of our animal product choices with plant-based options is a great way to conserve resources. 

Improve diversity in the diet. Improving the variety of plant foods in our diets has a lot of advantages, for our health and for the environment. Greater diversity reduces farming monoculture, which threatens soil health and nutrition, reduces eco-diversity for other native species, and makes us dangerously dependent on single food sources that may be affected by climate change. Eating a broader range of plant-based foods also supplies our bodies with a broader range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, improving our health. 

Knorr’s Future 50 Foods

Working with the World Wildlife Federation and the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington, Knorr has identified 50 “future foods.” These foods have been selected for their high nutrition, low environmental impact, flavour, and affordability. They have higher yields per hectare than other crops, are more tolerant of variable weather and climate conditions, and contain important nutrients for human health. These foods are more than superfoods: they are chosen because they optimize natural and human resources. Knorr has published its list of the Future 50 Foods and also creates recipes for how to use some of these unusual foods to create a more exciting, diverse, and delicious diet. 

Knorr is moving into the future by embracing sustainability at every phase, and creating delicious, eco-friendly foods from the farm to the table. If you are interested in working with brands that have cared for our health and our environment for generations, contact grapefrute to learn more about exciting opportunities in food science, nutrition, and sustainability. 

The Knorr brand - old and new logo.
In early 2019, a new logo was introduced in Germany, and later the UK, that drops the green band and instead places the Knorr text in a green leaf-like holding shape, along with the year of establishment (1838). While this logo started to roll out worldwide, the 2004 logo continues to be used in some countries (source)