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Over 15,000 people have signed a petition calling on Flora to keep Flora Buttery dairy-free.
The margarine giant ditched dairy across its entire range in March 2019, saying that ‘health and wellbeing’ was a motivation. It added that ‘people care more about what goes into products’ nowadays’.
But it recently backtracked on that move, saying it added buttermilk back to Flora Buttery due to ‘consumer feedback’.
Damian Guha is the general manager of Upfield UK&I, which owns Flora. In a statement sent to PBN, he said: “Consumers are seeking choice and every consumer is looking for a product which is specifically tailored towards their needs.
“Whether a consumer chooses Flora margarine because they prefer the taste to butter, or because they are dairy intolerant, vegan, looking for a healthier alternative with reduced bad fats or cholesterol-lowering benefits or are conscious of the environmental impact of dairy products, the Flora range enables consumers to find the product to best suit their needs.
“We take pride in our plant-based products which are consistently evolving to meet consumer needs and provide everyone with choice.”
He added: “Our overarching goal is to encourage everyone to adopt a plant-based diet.
“However, having listened to a significant number of consumers who miss the familiar taste of buttermilk in Flora Buttery, some customers are not ready to join the plant-based journey yet and are seeking an alternative product.
“This is why we continue to invest and innovate new products which are 100 percent plant-based and vegan. These include our vegan and dairy-free alternative to dairy butter – Flora Plant B+tter.”
‘Not what their customers want’
Now a petition launched calling on the company to go back on its decision has garnered around 16,000 in a matter of days.
The petition was started by Samantha Neal. It says: “Upfield, makers of Flora products, have announced that they plan to add buttermilk back into ‘Buttery’.
“Let’s come together to let Upfield know that this isn’t what their customers want! Please sign if you believe Flora Buttery tastes great without the dairy.”
‘A step backwards’
Many signatories have given reasons for why they have added their name to the petition.
One wrote: “This was a total step backward. Come on Flora, you can do better. For plant-based and lactose-intolerant customers and more importantly for the animals.”
Another added: “It doesn’t need [dairy]. No one in my family noticed the difference until I told them it was now vegan friendly. Only people annoyed about this is dairy farmers.”
Flora Light and Flora Original are both still currently suitable for vegans.