Flora forced to U-turn on new £29m recipe


In a case showing the true power of the British consumer, Flora has been forced to U-turn on its new recipe after complaints about taste.

Shoppers complained that the lower fat version of the popular margarine brand was "disgusting," according to the Daily Mail.

It a very costly and embarrassing mistake, brand owner Unilever is bringing back the old flavour 17 months after spending £29 million on a reformulation aimed improving the taste and health benefits of the spread.

Yet public reaction to the new formula was widely negative, with people taking to online forums like Digital Spy and Mumsnet to protest about the change to their favourite spread. Complaints prevail of an oily consistency, artificial taste and "rancid" smell, with many saying they threw full tubs away and will not be buying it again.

Embarrassing U-turn
Despite the grumbles and a drop in sales, Unilever insisted that consumer research showed that shoppers preferred the new recipe.

But in a report headlined 'Unilever returns to Original Flora after £29m revamp flops' trade magazine The Grocer reported yesterday that this week the brand owner announced it would be reverted back to the original recipe.

The new packs of the Flora Original spread going on shelves now have the slogan Back to the Taste You Love.

Brand backlash
Changing the recipe of a much-loved product is a risky move for food brands, as proved by cases past and present. Dairy Crest faced similar protests after changing its recipe for Clover spread last year.

The most iconic example is the decision by Coca-Cola Company's to reformulate the world's most popular soft drink in 1985. 'New Coke' marked the first formula change in 99 years and a public outcry forced the company to reissue the original coke, rebranded Coca-Cola classic, three months later.

A similar reaction occurred when United Biscuits slashed the saturated fat from McVitie's Digestives in 2009. Customers complained about a blander, more brittle and oily biscuit, with some calling to boycott the popular snack that was first made in 1892.

Heritage tea brand Twinings also experienced a backlash over tweaks to its 180-year-old Earl Grey tea in April 2011, by adding extra lemon and bergamot to the recipe. Eventually buckling under pressure from Earl Grey purists, only four months later the tea company reintroduced the original under a new label - Earl Grey The Classic Edition.

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