Unilever switches some ingredients to adapt to commodities shortage

As commodities - from crude oil to sunflower oil - remain in short supply, Britain's Unilever (ULVR.L) has changed the ingredient makeup for some of its products like deodorants and packaged food to cut costs and mitigate supply constraints. 

The ability to switch ingredients and materials, something consumer goods manufacturers traditionally find difficult, became even more valuable after Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to commodity prices hitting multi-year highs. 

In April, Unilever boss Alan Jope said the company had begun altering some of its recipes so it could use rapeseeed oil instead of sunflower oil, which had become scarce since the invasion.  

Ukraine typically produces about half the world's exports of sunflower oil. 

According to Unilever's head of research and development, Richard Slater, the maker of Dove soap and Knorr stock cubes is not stopping there. 

"Globally, there was a shortage of silicon so we were looking at our deodorant and making sure that we looked at the formulations there...to use less ingredients that are under pressure," Slater said in an interview. 

Unilever, which makes Rexona, Dove, Axe and Lynx deodorants, dealt with this issue last year, he said. 

In its home and beauty care businesses, the company has also been trying to reduce its products' reliance on petrochemicals and make them more sustainable.