MUMBAI: Unilever has confirmed it is adapting its strategic approach for recession-hit developed markets by copying branding and packaging innovations the FMCG firm first used in the emerging world.

The foods and consumer goods giant is rolling out smaller pack sizes and affordable variants of best-selling brands for the US and European markets, similar to those first seen in markets including India, the Economic Times reports.

A spokesperson for the FMCG firm said: "We have 'reverse-engineered' products from D&E [developing and emerging] markets - where we have big, long-established businesses - starting with a price point that people can afford and then working our way backwards along the supply and manufacturing chain to make sure that we can make it a profitable business model." 

In Spain, Unilever already sells Surf detergent in packs offering five washes, and in Greece it offers mashed potatoes and mayonnaise in small packages. Both of these markets are among those hit hardest by the ongoing eurozone crisis.

The FMCG firm has also launched low-cost brands of tea and olive oil for the euro markets.

Based on observations of consumer behaviour in Europe, with the recession driving more people to packed lunches and home baking, Unilever has also introduced baking products like Stork baking liquid as a cheaper option to butter, and in packs that can be re-used as lunch boxes.

Warc reported in August that Unilever's emerging markets business grew by 11.5% in 2011, accounting for 54% of the group's total turnover. 

Data sourced from Economic Times/Warc; additional content by Warc staff