Bangalore is the research and development centre for a number of our brands including Lifebuoy, Pond’s, Fair & Lovely, Vim, Radiant, Omo, Brooke Bond, Lipton, Wall’s and Knorr. A number of breakthrough innovations, such as the Fair & Lovely cream and Pureit water purification system, were also driven from this laboratory.
In skin care, we work on advanced formulations for lotions and creams that deliver photo-protection along with exceptional sensory experiences. Our programme in tea looks at aroma, taste and nutrition benefits through understanding the bio-chemistry of the tea plant and tea processing to improve blends. Our research on ‘naturals’ develops products with proven efficacy for the body and mind. In cleaning, for laundry and household care, we focus on areas such as minimising water usage while not compromising on cleanliness. And an important aspect of our health and hygiene programme is to translate hygiene benefits across our products for personal and home care and ensure that clean, safe drinking water can be provided to the masses.
Around 300 employees work at the site – including 75 scientists (bio-scientists, chemical engineers, material scientists, physicists and chemists), 150 research associates and 50 support staff – specialising in Microbiology, Human and Plant Biology, Materials Chemistry and Process Science. While we have internal expertise in many areas, we also collaborate extensively with leading international experts, research groups and academic institutions.
Unilever set up its first India R&D facility in Mumbai in 1958 to carry out research on soaps, infant foods and perfumes. In 1997, the research efforts moved to Bangalore. Over the years, the team has been responsible for delivering innovations such as bar soaps, fortified salt and instant tea.
A model of sustainability
The research campus was built to complement and enhance its surroundings, retaining as much green cover across the site as possible and working in harmony with the rare local flora and fauna. There are also ongoing programmes to reduce its carbon footprint through energy saving measures and to improve water sustainability through recycling.