Unilever's back-to-the-future goals disappoint

Unilever restored its pre-pandemic sales growth target on Thursday (February 4).

But that underwhelmed investors who are seeking more ambitious goals amid strong consumer demand for plant-based food products and home care brands.

The Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove soap maker said it would be "laser focused" on driving top line sales growth.

And would invest heavily in high growth areas including plant-based food and beauty products.

This would help Unilever to achieve a long-term underlying sales growth target of 3% to 5%.

Unilever shares were down about 4% by lunchtime in London.

As restrictions around the world kicked in, so too did demand for in-home foods, ice-cream and hygiene products in North America.

In Europe, sales were driven by home care products.

The global health crisis has boosted sales of packaged food companies like Unilever, Nestle and Kraft Heinz.

Though Unilever has been hit by sharp declines in foods served in public places.

It was a historic year for the company.

In November it ditched its Anglo-Dutch dual-headed structure in favour of a single corporate entity based in London.

The maker of Hellmann's mayonnaise and Tresemme shampoo expects to save 2.4 billion dollars per year from cost savings programs.

Turnover for the full-year came in at 60.8 billion dollars, also slightly lower than expectations.