Revamped Flora is blasted for tasting 'like cheap marge'

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First it was Twinings Earl Grey tea, then HP Sauce - and now Flora is at the centre of a potentially costly consumer backlash over reformulation.

In January, Unilever changed the recipe after investing £29m in a new process that it claimed would enhance “the taste and health credentials” of the spread. But the new recipe, rolled out across Flora and Flora Light earlier this year, has hit a bum note with consumers, prompting calls for the original recipe to be reinstated.

On the Flora Hearts Facebook page, user Alex ‘Lexi’ Grover pleaded with Unilever to bring back “real Flora Original”, claiming the “different flavour is ruining all my meals”.

One Mumsnet user, posting as ‘achangeisasgoodasarest’, said they had been using Flora for years and had just bought the new product. “It has a different texture and smells like really cheap cooking margarine. And tastes disgusting,” they wrote. Another user claimed reformulated Flora “tastes funny in mash”, while a further reported that a recently bought tub “had, like, a pocket of liquid in the middle”.

And a user of thegrocer.co.uk complained that it “recreates the unique sliminess” of 1950s cheap marge and alleged it “either uses 25% cheaper oils, or incorporates more water”.

Unilever denied it had switched to cheaper oils. When asked whether the ratio of water to other ingredients had changed, it said: “The new Flora has a new composition, and therefore the ratio of all ingredients has changed.” The new packs state “45% vegetable fat spread”, whereas the old version used to say 59%.

Unilever would not be drawn on whether it was considering reverting to the original recipe, but it insisted tests on the new products had prompted positive feedback. “More of our current users rated the new recipe ‘excellent’ compared with the older recipe,” the company said. “We understand that some people will miss the old Flora, but the consumer research we have done reassures us that the new product is tastier than before.” said.

Readers' comments (38)

  • YEEEUKKK!! It's lousy. I'm starting to look for some other brand.

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  • It tastes vile, now watch their sales plummet.

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  • how can the packaging state 'original' And 'new'? n00bs

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  • Horrible, horrible, horrible! Flora was the only non-butter spread that didn't taste revolting - and now they've ruined it! Why not allow consumers the choice of the 'old original' and the 'new original' (heading into Spinal Tap territory with this!)? Shan't be buying this any more.

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  • Absolutely agree with the comment "Flora was the only non-buttter spread that didnt taste revolting" but now IT DOES!!! vile, absolutely smells disgusting. I used to only be able to eat Flora in the yellow tub, but WONT BE BUYING IT ANYMORE. Now Anchor is the last one I will be able to buy. If that changes too, I will not eat butter or marg again. BRING BACK THE ORIGINAL YELLOW FLORA

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  • Anyone one got an address to complain to at the manufacturers? Symingtons reverted to their original dandelion coffee recipe after public pressure. No luck with the producers of sausmix burger mix as far as I know yet.
    These people should give the public what they want. Why tamper with products the public love?

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  • totally agree with comments, it was the smell that put me off. am now using solesta olive spread from aldi. far better and cheaper one of their best selling products. guess its about to get even more popular.

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  • "New" and nasty. My two young boys noticed the difference and refused to have any on sandwiches/toast. We've now switched permanently to Bertolini.

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  • Ruined several meals until we relaised where the awefull taste was coming from. No more Flora for us.

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  • I would like to comment on just how disgusting this product is. Unfortunately, I was rushed to hospital after my first and only ingestion some weeks ago, and died yesterday. The autopsy reveals that I was poisoned.

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