With a background in nutrition research and a long heritage in contributing positively to people’s diets, Unilever has been at the forefront of developing heart healthy margarines and spreads for over 55 years. The link between increased consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol, a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD)*, was firmly established in the 1950s. Unilever responded to this in 1962 by launching Flora polyunsaturated margarine, the healthy alternative to butter, lard and hard margarine, which are all high in saturated fats.
Since then Flora products have all been adapted in line with new scientific knowledge. During the 1990s, scientific research established that trans fatty acids have a negative effect on blood lipids and can increase the risk of CHD. As a result of this research, in 1994 Flora became the first spread to contain no trans fat from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. In 2002, Flora increased the amount of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats in all its Flora spreads.
In 2000, the first Flora ProActiv low fat spread with added plant sterol was launched in Europe. Plant sterols have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.*
The range was extended in 2003 to include Flora ProActiv milk and in 2004, the Flora ProActiv ‘one-a-day’ mini drink was launched.
Today the Flora ProActiv range of spreads and drinks is available in over 25 countries worldwide.
* As coronary heart disease has multiple risk factors, more than one may need to be improved to reduce overall risk of it/coronary heart disease.