Unilever gets rid of margarine as butter makes a comeback

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 10th April 2017

Unilever has announced plans to sell or demerge its spreads division which includes Flora, Bertolli, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and Stork.

The decision comes after the company conducted a strategic review into its business following an Kraft Heinz acquisition attempt of Unilever in February 2017.

After conducting the review, Unilever said the spreads category was challenged in developed markets and that it was looking to create a leaner and more focused business through establishing a new Foods and refreshment unit.

“The organisation and cost structure for this new unit will be re-designed to reflect the large scale we have in developed markets, while sustaining faster growth in emerging markets,” Unilever said.

Butter making a comeback

The decision to get rid of its spreads division comes at a time when research is showing some consumers are turning back to butter.

In September 2016, Roy Morgan Research reported that in the 12 months ended June 2016, 54.7 per cent of Australian grocery buyers purchased butter at least once in an average four-week period.

This was a substantial increase on Roy Morgan Research’s 2012 data on Australian butter purchasing habits which found only 47.2 per cent of Australian grocery buyers purchasing butter once in an average four-week period.

Comparatively, Roy Morgan research said 44.6 per cent of people brought margarine at least once a month in the 12 months ended June 2016. This was a 20 per cent decrease on June 2012 figures.

The butter boom: Australian grocery buyers’ changing habits

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Aust), July 2015-June 2016, n=6,138. Base: Australian grocery buyers 14+


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