Logo for Dutch-British food-to-household products giant Unilever.
Logo for Dutch-British food-to-household products giant Unilever. - 
Listen To The Story

The European company Unilever is a giant food and household goods company. Here in the U.S. it owns brands like Hellman's, Lipton, Vaseline and Dove. Unilever is even more dominant in Europe.

Its top European official said something very provocative in a new interview with the Financial Times Deutschland. He said poverty has come back to southern Europe -- and the company will approach consumers there using techniques from developing countries.

Gerard Rijk is a food and beverage analyst with ING in Amsterdam. He says the techniques will include reducing the packaging sizes of products to make those products more affordable for customers on tight budgets.

But won't European be insulted to be treated like people in developing countries? Rijk doesn't think so. "It just makes life easier for them," he says.

Follow Jeff Horwich at @jeffhorwich