Unilever UK Foods has axed its Flora Pro-activ blood pressure-controlling drink, claiming poor sales were down to lack of scientific evidence linking the drink's ingredients with blood pressure reduction.

Unilever said the variant had failed to meet sales expectations in its first year and consumers were unconvinced about its benefits. It was launched last July, backed by a £10m support package, and the company hoped it would become as big as its cholesterol-lowering counterpart.

"It was not proven to reduce blood pressure and we don't have the clinical proof to enable us to say it does," said Trevor Gorin, head of UK media relations at Unilever. "That's the direction we wanted to go in but the science has not developed enough to make those claims."

Sales of Flora Pro-activ mini drinks have more than doubled, from £11m to £27.7m, in a year [ACNielsen 52 w/e 12 August], but Gorin said most sales had come from the cholesterol-lowering product.