flora freedom avocado coconut walnut spreads

Unilever is hoping to revive flagging Flora sales ahead of ‘Sprexit’ with new avocado and coconut variants of dairy-free Flora Freedom.

A new trio of Flora Freedom spreads - Avocado and Lime, Coconut and Almond, and Walnut (rsp: £1.50/225g) - joined the original Flora Freedom variant in Tesco this week [Brand View].

The NPD follows the launch of own-label avocado and coconut spreads by Tesco, Waitrose and Asda last summer. At the time, Tesco said the NPD was inspired by a 40% surge in avocado sales across its stores, while a spokeswoman for Waitrose noted “growing demand from customers for more dairy-free goods.”

Avocado sales are still in strong growth - up £49.9m (35%) last year on volumes up 29.5% [Nielsen 52 w/e 15 October 2016]. Coconut-based products are also performing strongly across various categories, with coconut oils up 27.2% to £24.0m over the past year, compared with 1.6% growth across the wider oils category [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 26 February 2017].

“We continue to see rising consumer interest in plant-based foods as well as significant growth in the dairy-free segment,” said Clare Preedy, Flora marketing manager. “Flora’s new range of dairy-free flavoured spreads tap into this growing trend.”

Unilever confirmed its so-called ‘Sprexit’ last month, with plans to sell off its underperforming spreads business announced as part of a set of measures aimed at increasing investor returns in the wake of the aborted Kraft Heinz takeover.

Flora - its bestselling spread - lost £20m last year as sales plummeted 12.2% to £143.7m [Nielsen 52 w/e 31 December 2016], despite Unilever ploughing £12.5m into its ‘Powered by Plants’ push and launching Flora Freedom last January.