Unilever’s global decision to spin off its ice cream division, resulting in 7,500 job losses, has sent shockwaves, even reaching Greece. This major change in the market’s landscape is not something seen every day.

The ice cream sector, featuring brands such as Magnum, Ben & Jerry’s, Viennetta, Carte d’Or, Cornetto, among others, which represents 16% of the multinational group’s total sales, did not have the expected performance in 2023 as desired by the management.

Contrary to global trends, Unilever found the Greek market to be unexpectedly lucrative for its ice cream products, according to George Tzavaras, Head of Ice Cream South Central Europe & South Eastern Europe.

Total sales in the South-Eastern Europe cluster (Greece, Cyprus, North Macedonia, Albania, and Kosovo) amounted to 112 million euros in 2023.

Tzavaras noted that the Greek market remains stable, with Unilever continuing its current plans. Additionally, he highlighted the near-autonomous operation of Unilever’s ice cream activity in Greece, stating that there are very few departments that are shared with the rest of the cluster.

While immediate changes may not be anticipated due to Unilever’s decision, potential mid-term shifts are considered, given past experiences.

A future mandate for Unilever’s Algida brand could spark significant interest and competition. Unilever also mentioned that the ice cream sector’s autonomy leaves room for various options, including the direct sale of the business.