The research, carried out by One Poll, showed that customers did not realise there are significant differences between spreads and margarines in terms of how they are made and what they contain, even though margarine no longer exists on supermarket shelves in the UK.
Nearly half of customers (45%) wrongly classified healthy unsaturated spreads like Flora, Stork and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter as old-fashioned margarines. Six in ten (60%) did not know the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats and a greater proportion thought that butter (30%) was better for your health than spreads (26%).
However, in reality, margarine must contain fat levels of 80% or more by definition; products with these fat levels no longer exist on supermarket shelves in the UK. Spreads are made differently, with simple, real and tasty ingredients found in your kitchen cupboard, including seed and plant oils. Flora is a blend of 3 plant oils: linseed, rapeseed and sunflower.
However, the Government’s Eat Well Guide recently endorsed spreads, such as Flora, as a healthy option, giving them its own category on the chart of recommended products.
Scientists also recommend reducing saturated fats and replacing them with unsaturated fats, such as those found in spreads. The Eat Well Guide has moved away from treating fats as one harmful entity and recognises the positive contribution that unsaturated fats and spreads can make towards a healthy diet. Despite this, around four in ten respondents (41%) were unaware that butter contains greater levels of saturated fat than spreads.
James Brennan, Marketing Manager at Unilever said “We know that many customers feel disconnected from their food and are confused about often conflicting scientific advice. We want to play our part in making a difference in this area. We’ll be investing £12.5 million through reconnecting families with where their food comes from and educating them about healthy choices. We are delighted to see the recent release of Public Health England’s Eatwell Guide that unsaturated fats, like the oils found in our spreads, now have a dedicated section and are recognised as the healthy option.”