Becel wants millennials to show off their ‘fridge goals’

A new influencer-driven campaign for the margarine brand aligns with the themes of Canada's revised Food Guide.


Upfield Foods’ Becel margarine brand is tapping into millennials’ desire to “curate” their lives, launching a campaign for its Becel with Avocado Oil product that aligns with the general themes of the recently revised Health Canada Food Guide.

With the goal of inspiring Canadians to swap items from their fridge with plant-based alternatives – a first step in helping them eat healthier and pack a fridge they feel comfortable showing off, according to Hesham Aboul-Hassan, Becel senior brand manager at Upfield – the margarine brand has launched “Fridge Goals,” a influencer-led effort featuring interior stylist Sarah Gunn.

Gunn’s involvement includes sharing tips on how consumers can organize their fridge using common home design techniques on social media channels. But a broader campaign spans television, digital, OOH, social influencer and earned media efforts, with creative led by Edelman. One social video points to specific ingredients in the fridge, tying back to recipes created as part of the campaign.

The campaign includes a partnership with Corus Entertainment’s Food Network Canada and talent across their various brands that will give Canadians a look inside the fridges of TV personalities like ET Canada’s Cheryl Hickey and HGTV Canada’s Sarah Baeumler. Becel will also be running a contest in partnership with Food Network Canada asking Canadians to share photos of their own fridges. Edelman is jointly handling digital responsibilities with Mindshare, whose duties include taking care of the broader media spend.

“We know millennials love to curate their best selves, both in real life and in social media,” says Aboul-Hassan. “Also, in line with the [new] Canadian Food Guide, we see a lot of Canadians want to eat healthier, want to eat more plant-based. We are at the heart of this cross-section of things, where Becel with Avocado Oil is able to deliver on both, leveraging different insights.”

The main insight behind this year’s push is that a lot of millennials seek help from experts, including interior designers, personal trainers, nutritionists and life coaches, says Aboul-Hassan. “We wanted to show Canadians how to bring the same curation and thoughtfulness that they have in other areas of their home into their fridge.”

With respect to the Food Guide unveiled in January – which places greater emphasis on plant-based eating and cooking at home – he says Becel “happened to be at the right place at the right time.” He believes Health Canada’s recommendations may help bring more customers into the Becel franchise, as it has “the best product to deliver on these two things.”

Becel-FridgeGoals2Upfield Foods was set up by private equity firm KKR following its US $8 billion acquisition of Unilever’s spreads business in 2018, and its portfolio includes Flora, Rama, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and other dairy and plant-based spreads. Unilever had initially restructured its spreads business into a standalone unit in 2015, but saw sales fall 5% that year. Upfield’s acquisition of the business was viewed by some industry analysts as an opportunity to reposition the brand to better reach the millennial market.

Aboul-Hassan says this year is a particularly important one for the Becel brand, as Upfield is looking to drive growth post-acquisition. “Rather than change the entire strategy [for Becel], we wanted to leverage what works, and add a little bit more action to it.”

Since its launch in 2017, Becel with Avocado Oil has become one of the brand’s most successful innovations, he says, noting it’s the “growth accelerator” of the Becel portfolio, while the Original variant, which has been in-market the longest, remains the largest by volume.

Becel with Avocado Oil has been particularly successful with millennial moms aged 25 to 35, according to Aboul-Hassan. That segment has been the focus of the company’s recent marketing efforts, including a Toronto pop-up restaurant dubbed “Avo Alley” supporting the launch of Becel with Avocado Oil in 2017. Last year’s PLNT served as a pop-up restaurant that was entirely plant-based, including the menu, chairs and cutlery.

Becel has also taken a similar influencer-based approach with other campaigns, partnering with Olympic ice dancer Tessa Virtue and interior designer Jillian Harris. The CPG co’s wider influencer strategy is aimed at delivering credibility and impact in addition to the reach achieved through mass and earned media, says Aboul-Hassan.

He says Becel is putting more focus on French Canada this year through a tailored influencer and media approach, as Quebec remains the largest market – ahead of Ontario – when it comes to butter and margarine categories.