Consumers are responding as manufacturers boost brand equity with positive and trusted health messages

In March, Unilever relaunched its Flora brand with Omega-3 and 6 oils in its recipe with a new logo and packaging as part of a £9m support package.
It also launched the first-ever Flora Family Marathon designed to get the whole community active before the tenth Flora London marathon, which was held on April 17.
The aim of the campaign was to remind consumers of the clear health benefits of the ‘good’ fats found in the product. The new TV ad reflected this showing people of all ages living life to the full and ending with the line ‘Flora Keep the Beat’.
Dorothy Mackenzie, chairman of brand consultancy Dragon, thinks this gives a positive fat message.
“People clearly trust Flora and brands such as Benecol and Flora Pro-activ,” she says. “The manufacturers are building up that level of trust with functional health messages - they have less trust for heavily processed spreads trying to claim fantastic taste as well as health properties. This is not a category that has suffered from low trust, such as cereal.”
She feels that big changes have taken place in the past two years to make the category simpler and clearer for the consumer, and that, as a result, consumers are more willing to buy into the category.
Natalie Mitchell, central buyer at Waitrose, adds: “The growth in sectors such as functional (cholesterol-lowering etc) and low fat would suggest that consumers do trust the marketing messages of manufacturers.”
Using well-known, trusted celebrities to endorse products is another way of getting consumers to trust in the brands.
For example, since the start of this month Unilever has employed the services of Lulu to market its Flora Pro-activ range.
The £3.5m campaign, which includes TV ads and a press campaign in women’s consumer magazine, has the Scottish singer taking a three-week Flora Pro-activ challenge to demonstrate how the plant sterols in the products can help lower cholesterol levels when combined with a healthy diet.