The British label’s fourth-quarter sales growth was reportedly hit due to shoppers in Indonesia boycotting brands of multinational companies “in response to the geopolitical situation in the Middle East.”
Unilever said fourth-quarter sales in Indonesia declined by double-digits, adding that it has “since seen some improvement to customer and consumer uptake in January.”
Indonesia is home to more than 200 million Muslims.
The boycotts have been particularly seen in countries with large Muslim populations. They are a result of Unilever’s perceived pro-Israel stance in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
McDonald’s this week posted its first quarterly sales miss in nearly four years. The fast food chain has said the war “meaningfully impacted” performance in some overseas markets.
The chief executive of Unilever Hein Schumacher said that besides the boycotts, the company was otherwise “not seeing material impacts to our supply chain” as a result of the conflict and related attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.
Schumacher added, “There are some small interruptions obviously for some key ingredients and on shipping and so forth. So there’s some delay but I won’t call it material.”
He went on to say that much of Unilever’s products and materials are sourced locally.
He said, “We are working with big forwarders and carriers and I’m aware of them taking longer routes.”
Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s board last month called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
The ice cream brand announced in July 2021 that it would stop sales in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and parts of East Jerusalem.
Ben & Jerry’s said selling ice cream in occupied Palestinian territories was “inconsistent with our values.”
In 2022, following a court battle, Unilever sold its interest in Ben & Jerry’s operations in Israel.