Unilever to Ditch Flora and Stork as Consumers Turn to Butter
The maker of Flora and Stork has put the margarine and spreads business up for sale as consumers turn to butter and healthier options. Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch business which is one of the biggest consumer goods groups in the world, said it plans to sell its spreads business, which is valued at around £6bn, or spin it off into a separate company.
Sales of margarine and spreads, once regarded as a healthier alternative to butter, have been in long-term decline in Europe and the US.
Concerns about trans fats in the 2000s led to many brands removing hydrogenated fats from their spreads and reformulating their recipes. However, sales have continued to fall.
Growing suspicion of processed foods and a re-evaluation of saturated fat have prompted many consumers to return to butter. Households have also cut back on the amount of bread they eat and are buying more butter because they consider it to be more natural.
Sales of margarine in the UK are down more than 12% on last year while butter sales have climbed nearly 2%, according to figures from research group Kantar Worldpanel.