Flora is hoping to revive the fortunes of its margarine spreads with a £9m campaign to target kids and parents through a school educational drive.

Cooking with Schools will see Flora reduce the focus on functionality and return to its roots as a family cooking brand.

While sales of butter have surged in the past year, margarine has fallen out of favour with consumers who perceive it as less natural.

The Flora brand fell 1.9% in value in the year to October to £181.7m and lost its status as category leader to Lurpak for the first time in almost 20 years. However, it has since increased sales by 5.8% to £204.3m [Nielsen]. The market for butters and spreads with specific health benefits, meanwhile, fell 10.5% in the year ending 23 March 2008 [TNS].

Flora brand manager Joe Comiskey admitted that by focusing on the added health benefits of its spreads, Flora's position in everyday cooking may have suffered. "Perhaps in the past there has not been enough distinction between Pro.activ and the main brand," he said.

The campaign, which includes a TV push from 9 June, would stress the usage occasions of Flora in the kitchen, such as with jacket potatoes, and tap into the resurgence of people wanting to cook at home, he said.

From June and October this year 50 million Flora promotional packs will carry tokens worth 20p, 40p or £1 that can be redeemed against cooking equipment for primary schools.

The campaign will be unbranded, in line with advertising regulations, and will be spearheaded by a character called Seeds. He will be used to communicate the message that margarine contains healthier oils and is lower in saturated fats than butter. Schools can also apply for free Cooking with Schools resources packs that include educational materials and recipe cards endorsed by celebrity chef Gary Rhodes.

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