Isabelle Esser

Executive Vice President Research Development Foods



Keynote Speech Seizing on the Trends of the New Asian Foods Consumer

With the rising of middle class’ population (estimated to doubling by 2030), health is becoming more important and the demand for nutritional foods of high added value has grown significantly. In addition, digitalization is gradually but drastically changing the patterns of consumption. Governments over Asia are starting to take national initiatives in Nutrition and Health Policies to address the skyrocketing incidence of NCDs related to over nutrition and as well as creeping undernutrition. In the backdrop of these consumer changes, the food supply is increasingly sensitive to climate changes and population increase. This confluence of radical movements is creating new challenges but certainly new opportunities for the Foods Industry. This talk will further outline Trends and Opportunities we are facing in this changing consumer environment , and how companies like Unilever address global nutrition in a sustainable way.

Speech Time: 09:00 - 10:00


Isabelle is the Executive Vice-President for Foods Research and Development at Unilever. A role she has occupied since April 2012. In her current role, she is a member of the Foods Leadership Team and reporting to the Foods President.
Isabelle is accountable for the development of Foods R&D as a core engine of sustainable growth for Unilever. Her key responsibilities include: defining and implementing the future development plans in science and technology for Foods leveraging scale as well as the nutrition strategy underpinning Unilever’s Foods and Refreshment Categories. She leads the Foods R&D teams located around the world. Her team cover the breadth of R&D from product’s first concept to its global brand design and deployment into regions with market-driven variations. She contributes to the Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture Pillars of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
From the 1st of January 2018, she will be leading the Foods R&D Transformation which aims at building a New Global Foods Innovation Center in Wageningen, The Netherlands and through collaboration and partnership, create a strong eco-system for Foods Innovation.