Product type Margarine
Owner Unilever
Markets Global
Website Becel (Canada)

Becel is a brand of margarine produced by Unilever and sold in a number of countries, including Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, and Turkey. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa the product is sold under the name Flora, in France as Fruit d'Or, in Israel as Mazola and in the United States as Promise.

The name Becel originates from the three letter acronym BCL (Blood Cholesterol Lowering). When introduced, the blood cholesterol lowering effect was achieved by modifying the triacylglycerol (TAG) profile of the fat used in the margarine: an increased level of poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) reduces the blood cholesterol level (see e.g. A. Keys et al., Serum cholesterol response to changes in the diet. IV. Particular saturated fatty acids in the diet, Metabolism 14, 776-787 (1965)). More recently, products were introduced under the "pro-activ" sub-brand. These products are based on the effects of plant sterols and sterol esters on blood cholesterol lowering (see e.g. M.B. Katan et al., Efficacy and Safety of Plant Stanols and Sterols in the Management of Blood Cholesterol Levels, Mayo Clinic Proceedings 78, 965-978 (2003)). In recent years the Becel/Flora brand has added cooking oil, pot yogurt and yogurt drinks to the non-margarine products, all of which are designed to help lower blood cholesterol level. This is achieved by a highly increased resorption of beta-sitosterol and other phytosterols which accumulate especially in the Intima of blood vessels and may cause arteriosclerotic plaques. In consequence, consumption of Becel products does not lower the risk for coronary diseases such as arteriosclerosis and inherits therefore no medical benefits.[1]

Trends over the last couple of years have shown a greater demand for margarine over butter. "[2] Becel is a margarine-producing company that has taken advantage of this public shift towards assumed "healthier" fat options by producing a variety of non-hydrogenated, low in saturated fats margarines. Becel bears the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Health Check symbol indicating that it meets the nutrient criteria based on the recommendations of Canada's food guide. "[3] Unwanted trans fats that are deemed to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease are avoided.[4]

European Food Safety Authority

In light of supporting evidence from various clinical trials, Becel pro-activ gained the European Union's European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) approval for its claim to reduce the blood levels of cholesterol. But it does not reduce the risk of disease, which is actually not claimed (no longer claimed) by the company but believed by many consumers.[5][6]

2010 Academy Awards controversy

In 2009, Becel commissioned Sarah Polley to direct a two-minute short "to inspire women to take better care of that particular vital organ" [the heart].[7] A week before the short's planned premiere in Canada during a commercial break during the CTV broadcast of the 82nd Academy Awards, Polley attracted headlines for taking her name off the film. Polley had understood that the film, titled "The Heart", would be used to promote the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, but was unhappy with the association with Becel. "Regretfully, I am forced to remove my name from the film and disassociate myself from it. I have never actively promoted any corporate brand, and cannot do so now."[8][9][10] In response, Becel said it was a "founding sponsor" of the Canadian Heart Truth campaign and had commissioned the film "to put heart health on the radar of Canadian women."[11]


  1. "Butter is alright, but margarine just might kill you, massive Canadian study finds". National Post. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  2. Globe and Mail. "Butter v. Margarine- which is better?". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  3. Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Health Check Symbol and Becel". Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  4. Mozaffarian D, Katan MB, Ascherio A, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC (November 11, 2011). "Trans Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease". New England Journal of Medicine. 354 (15): 1601–1613. doi:10.1056/NEJMra054035. PMID 16611951.
  5. "Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to 3 g/day plant sterols/stanols and lowering blood LDL-cholesterol and reduced risk of (coronary) heart disease pursuant to Article 19 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006" (PDF). European Food Safety Authority. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  6. "Butter is alright, but margarine just might kill you, massive Canadian study finds". National Post. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  7. Gayle MacDonald. "Sarah Polley's new work gets Oscar debut". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 25 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
  8. Melissa Leong (2010-03-03). "The matter with The Heart is product endorsement". National Post. Archived from the original on 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  9. Katherine Monk (2010-03-03). "Sarah Polley strips name from Oscar short". Vancouver Sun. Canwest News Service. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  10. "Polley pulls name from sponsored film". CBC News. 2010-03-02. Archived from the original on March 5, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  11. Jeromy Lloyd (2010-03-03). "CTV and Becel React to Polley's Rebuke". Marketing. Retrieved 2010-03-07.

External links

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