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Vlaardingen, The Netherlands

Vlaardingen R&D is the global development centre for our spreads and dressings brands, and the regional development centre for laundry, skincare, haircare and machine dishwashing products.

Main activities

Work at Vlaardingen adds to Unilever’s capability across three distinct areas: research, product development and implementation. Research delivers new product technology for innovation. Global Product Development turns a Research discovery (a technology, ingredient or insight) into a new product for global roll-out. Regional Development and Implementation brings new innovations to local markets and constantly renews existing products to achieve better value.


Employing more than 1,000 people of over 50 nationalities, Vlaardingen is home to Unilever’s global research expertise in Structured Materials and Process Science; Nutrition and Health; Sensation, Perception and Behaviour; Advanced Measurement and Data Modelling.


Established in 1957, Vlaardingen has contributed to some of Unilever’s most significant product innovations including: Small & Mighty double concentrated liquid detergents; Sun Green environmentally friendly machine dishwasher tablets; Becel’s Heart Age Tool that calculates how old/young the heart is compared to chronological age; and Calve 3% fat mayonnaise that’s made using unique citrus fibre technology.

The centre also laid the scientific basis for the approval by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of the health claims for Unilever’s Becel and Blue Band margarines.

Promoting excellence

The annual Unilever Research Prize is presented to outstanding postgraduate students – one from each of the 13 Dutch universities – in chemistry, biology, mechanical engineering and social sciences. The prize was established to strengthen the bond between industry and academic research, and to motivate students to excel.

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