Global spread company Upfield has announced all of its brands will be fully plant-based by 2025. Upfield operates in more than 95 countries and owns around 15 brands, including Flora, ProActiv, Becel, Elmlea, Bertolli, and Violife.
Upfield’s roots trace back 150 years, when the inventor of margarine sold the patent to Upfield’s predecessor, Jurgens, in 1871.
The company has increasingly explored the plant-based food space since then. In 2016, its popular Flora brand launched a dairy-free spread. Three years later, it announced it was updating its whole Flora line to be vegan.
The following year, however, Upfield added dairy buttermilk back into its Flora Buttery recipe, claiming that shoppers preferred ‘the familiar taste profile’.
The move was met with backlash. A petition urging Upfield to reverse the decision garnered 20,000 signatures.
Now, Upfield has confirmed that all of its brands’ products will be plant-based, citing sustainability as a key concern.
The company’s first ESG report outlines a roadmap to ‘a better plant-based future’. In it, Upfield says that plant-based margarines and spreads come with a 70 percent smaller ‘climate impact’ than dairy butter.
Further, plant-based margarines require less than half the water and less than two-thirds of the land used for dairy butter production, it says.
And in 2020, consumers saved more than 6 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent by purchasing Upfield’s plant-based spreads over dairy.
“Plants are fundamental to our future, as the world pivots today toward a more sustainable, natural, healthy and equitable food system for tomorrow. People around the world are embracing plant-based foods for health, sustainability and ethical reasons,” the company writes in its A Better Plant-Based Future Policy Position.
Upfield adds that it has the ‘responsibility’ to support the ‘transformation’ of the food system, for the good of the planet and health of future generations.
“We do this because it’s not only what consumers and stakeholders expect of us, but because it is the right thing to do,” Upfield adds.
Alongside its plant-based commitments, Upfield wants to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. It has pledged to halve its waste and remove 95 percent of plastic from all of its packaging before the end of the decade.
Further, Upfield aims to build a network of five million plant-based chefs, and enhance the livelihoods of 100,000 small holders and plant-based entrepreneurs.