Unilever Canada Becel Margarine Analysis

Becel needs to adjust their promotional efforts to address both a heart healthy and great tasting product, while expanding their target market to the twenty-five and above demographic. Becel’s current customers are largely empty nester households where the customers tend to be affluent with high incomes and over sixty-five years of age. By adjusting their promotional efforts to address both a heart healthy and great tasting product, Becel will be able to meet the needs of the twenty-five and above demographic.

Becel’s strengths include a strong reputation as a leader in heart health and nutrition education, being the premium priced margarine, and the highest consumer loyalty of any margarine category. Among some of the weaknesses of Becel are lack of a strong presence in Western Canada, not positioned as great tasting, and a low advertising awareness. Opportunities include the consideration of health and taste when selecting margarine, selling in bulk quantity to large family households, and increased awareness of health issues.

Canola Harvest positioning their margarine as the healthiest and best tasting and offering it at a lower price, competitors gaining market share at a faster rate than Becel, and regulations on the margarine category are among the threats facing Becel. Three alternatives were developed to help solve Becel’s problem. “Run Canada, Run” portrays Becel as the margarine that is geared towards a heart-healthy lifestyle. “Body by Becel” conveys how Becel can help you lose weight and stay healthy. “Now We’re Cooking with Becel” demonstrates how Becel can be used in a variety of healthy, day-to-day recipes.

Innovative Solutions’ educated recommendation is “Now We’re Cooking With Becel”. This will allow Becel to expand their target market, while promoting their product as heart healthy and great tasting. By implementing this recommendation, Becel will have the opportunity to create a competitive advantage and gain market share. Unilever was formed in 1930 when British soap maker Lever Brothers merged with the Dutch company Margarine Unie. This merger “allowed both companies to benefit from many raw materials and resources that they had in common” (Kerin and Robertson 600).

Unilever Canada is a division of the international Unilever group, headed by two parent companies, Unilever NV and Unilever PLC. They are headquarted in Rotterdam and London. Lipton food division acquired Becel Margarine in 1999. Today Unilever is one of the world’s largest consumer products companies. Becel Margarine was launched in 1978 as a premium priced product, positioned as the heart healthy margarine of choice. Previously, the Becel brand had been positioned as the heart healthy margarine of choice in Europe for twenty years prior to Canadian introduction.

Despite unique positioning Becel struggled for many years gaining only 8. 1 percent market share by 1991. Unilever considered several options for growing the Becel brand, such as, price decreases, repositioning the product, and dramatic increases in advertising support. In 1991 Lipton devised the strategy “living a life that is young at heart”. This strategy was very successful with its current target market, 65 and above. In the butter and margarine category, butter holds fifty percent of the market.

The Dairy Bureau of Canada positions butter as tasty and natural, which is conveying that margarine is processed and does not taste as good. However, that is not true, margarine is better for you than butter and does suit consumers’ tastes. In addition, the health focus of the butter and margarine market is growing. More and more competitors are positioning their product as healthy for the consumer. For example, Parmalat is a brand of butter that has just entered the margarine market to compete with Becel with the brand Lactantia. The outline for the analysis will begin with the problem Identification.

This will convey the problem that Becel must address so it will be able to continue operating in today’s society. The situation analysis will follow the problem identification and will include the customer environmental analysis, the competitive analysis, and the SWOT analysis. Subsequently, three alternatives will be presented that will address the problem Becel Margarine is facing. A recommendation will then be made that best solves the problem at hand. As a final point, a conclusion will be made of why this is the problem facing Becel and how the recommendation will remedy that problem.

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