Flora is putting £15m behind its Pro-activ brand in an attempt to reverse a 12% sales slump and overtake rival Benecol in the mini cholesterol-lowering drinks market.

On 1 February, it is launching its biggest health-focused campaign to date. Fronted by TV presenter Gloria Hunniford, the TV, radio, press and online campaign features the strapline: 'No food lowers cholesterol more. The world's no1 plant sterol brand.'

The £71.3m total Pro-activ brand, which includes spreads, cheese, yoghurt and dairy-free drinks, lost £10m in sales for the year to December as a result of the resurgence of butter and the plethora of cholesterol-lowering products coming on to the market, admitted brand manager Judith Bruins.

"In the past 18 months Kellogg's Optivita, Quaker Oats and Benecol have all made moves in the cholesterol-lowering market," she said. "There's confusion about what products people should be using. We want to educate people to make an informed decision."

The activity also includes a tie-up with Lloyds Pharmacy to offer free cholesterol tests. Promotional packs will be rolled out from 25 February offering consumers a free Check For Change test at Lloyds in exchange for two receipts.

TV ads will air from 1 March to promote the tie-up, followed by 60-second informational ads from July featuring Hunniford talking about why she uses Flora Pro-activ.

As part of the push, Flora is also introducing a new seven-bottle pack of its mini cholesterol-lowering drink in a bid to drive daily consumption. The new format, which will join the existing four-bottle pack, is expected to drive category growth by £7m, said Bruins.

The diet health sub-sector of the BSM category dropped 9.6% in value to £80m for the year to October [Nielsen].

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