flora freedom

Unilever has unveiled its first-ever dairy-free spread under the Flora brand and plans for a £12.5m brand repositioning for the Flora portfolio as it seeks to tap demand for free-from products and growing interest in plant-based eating.

New Flora Freedom (rsp: £1.70/500g) will sit alongside the brand’s core range, while the £12.5m repositioning will use a ’Powered by Plants’ tagline to showcase health credentials such as Flora’s low fat and high omega-3 and 6 content. The new push will also highlight ingredients such as rapeseed, linseed and sunflower oils used in Flora spreads.

Flora Freedom is made from vegetable fat containing rapeseed and palm oil using only natural colour and flavourings, and has no preservatives. It is suitable for vegans.

Flora said 12% of UK households had a suspected dairy allergy or intolerance but only 1% of the spreads market was currently dairy-free. Meanwhile, a recent survey also found 41% of consumers believed free-from products tasted worse than the regular versions of products [YouGov 2015].

Flora Freedom aimed to address these barriers and was a “delicious-tasting spread that ensures those who have an intolerance or an allergy, or simply want to choose free-from products, can enjoy a great-tasting spread”, said Flora marketing manager James Brennan.

The packaging of the core Flora range has also been revamped to carry a modern, natural-looking design to reflect the Powered by Plants message, and a new TV advert airs on 15 February.

“Celebrating the plant-based ingredients in Flora and the resulting health benefits will reposition the brand back to its heartland of being a healthy alternative to butter,” added Brennan.

The activity comes on the back of a difficult period for the Flora brand.

Flora Gold was launched in the UK in 2014 and generated £3.4m in sales in 2015. However, the blend of butter and Flora failed to arrest a decline in sales for the total brand last year, with value sales slipping by £19.3m year on year to £143.8m [Grocer Top Products Survey 2015].