CONSUMER GOODS company Unilever Philippines is aiming to surpass the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth in sales this year, focusing on core brands and product innovations, its chairman said on Monday.

Sales have always surpassed the GDP growth and may continue this year, Fredy S. Ong, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Unilever Philippines, said during a briefing.

“Consistent with what our global CEO said that we have to deliver high-quality growth, definitely, Unilever Philippines will be counted on globally as one of the countries that will deliver high growth,” Mr. Ong said.

“Our growth has always been above GDP, [and] that’s what I can commit… you will see the official numbers from this year in April, but we will continue to deliver high growth,” he added.

The Philippine economy grew by 5.6% in 2023, falling short of the government’s full-year target of 6-7% and the 7.6% expansion in 2022.

Meanwhile, the Development Budget Coordination Committee is targeting GDP to grow by 6.5-7.5% this year and 6.5-8% from 2025 to 2028.

The main growth drivers, according to Mr. Ong, include the company’s established brands like Sunsilk, Creamsilk, Knorr, and Selecta ice cream, alongside its latest product innovations.

“What we intend to do is to invest heavily in our core brands, that’s the first thing that we plan to do. The second one, we have to make our products the best in the category which means delivering the best benefits right to our consumers… and the third one, we should continue to innovate,” he said.

“We plan to scale up all the innovation plants that’s available to different countries, but we want to pick those that are relevant to the market. Innovation is new products, it’s something that will help grow the category and hopefully upgrade people to premium portfolios,” he added.

Mr. Ong also said that the Philippines continues to be among the top ten markets for Unilever globally, as emerging markets contribute to 58% of Unilever’s global turnover.

“Emerging markets contribute to close to 60% of total Unilever global sales and the Philippines happens to be part of that group so our role is very important because we continue to drive growth for Unilever globally,” he said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile