Raising awareness of heart health
We help our consumers understand how to improve their heart health. We do this through advertising, media and social media campaigns, often in partnership with health organisations.
Better diets & lifestyles are important to combat heart disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of premature death. However, 80% of these deaths are preventable by making small, positive changes to diet and lifestyle. High cholesterol is one of the key risk factors that increases the chances of people developing heart disease. It is known that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats contributes to maintaining and lowering cholesterol levels.
Through our Becel/Flora ProActiv brands and related communication, we help raise awareness of the importance of cholesterol and looking after heart health, and provide guidance to people on how to do this. This has been the cornerstone of our nutrition programme for many years. Our approach depends on the partners we work with as well as the level of consumer awareness – no one size fits all.
We raise cholesterol awareness in a number of ways, ranging from our ‘It Takes a Village’ campaign, to establishing National Cholesterol Day in Spain, cholesterol testing in the Netherlands and Sweden, and World Heart Day in Portugal. We develop and distribute cholesterol-lowering starter kits and digital tools, and regularly work together with local health organisations and practitioners in order to have a greater impact.
‘It Takes a Village’
Research shows that in some countries up to six in ten people do not know their cholesterol level. With our Becel/Flora ProActiv ‘It Takes a Village’ programme, we are helping people across the world to lower their cholesterol.
The programme encourages residents of a chosen community to understand the importance of their cholesterol levels and lifestyle choices. People with elevated cholesterol are motivated to take action that can help lower their cholesterol number through simple diet and lifestyle changes.
Residents are supported throughout their three-week cholesterol-lowering journey via a number of activities including:
- On-the-spot cholesterol testing (at the beginning and end of the programme)
- Expert advice from a nutritionist and a fitness instructor
- Hands-on cooking guidance and lessons from a well-known chef
- Community breakfast clubs
- Fun exercise activities such as dog walking.
Our programme began back in 2013, in the village of Redueña in Spain. Since then, we have expanded it to communities in a further ten countries (Germany, Greece, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Ireland, South Africa, Poland, France and the UK). We plan to continue rolling out ‘It Takes a Village’ in 2016.
The initiative has produced impressive results overall, both directly and through wider communications. So far, 1,100 people have completed the three-week challenge, and 85% of those who took part succeeded in lowering their cholesterol. Importantly, in 2015 we managed to reach 180 million people with our cholesterol awareness message, through our media and PR communications surrounding ‘It Takes a Village’.
Helping to lower cholesterol with Becel/Flora ProActiv
Over 50 clinical studies have shown the cholesterol-lowering properties of plant sterols. A daily intake of 1.5–2.4g can lower cholesterol by 7–10% in two to three weeks as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle that includes enough fruit and vegetables.
Since 2000, we have added plant sterols to our Becel/Flora ProActiv range and continue to help raise people’s awareness of this. Our ProActiv communications in some countries will now include the claim, ‘with the natural power of added plant sterols that help to filter cholesterol from the body’. We launched our re-positioned ProActiv in the UK and France in Q4 2015.
In the Netherlands, UK, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand, we have also launched our free Becel/Flora ProActiv 21 Day Challenge app to help people lower their cholesterol. The Challenge encourages people with elevated cholesterol to do three simple tasks each day involving food, movement and Becel/Flora ProActiv. The app offers handy tips and recipes.
Download the app at https://21daychallenge.floraproactiv.co.uk/
Working in partnership to help more people
We have found that promoting awareness of heart health and providing guidance on how people can take action is often more effective when messages are communicated in partnership with health authorities and healthcare professionals.
One example of maximising our impact is our partnership since 2013 with the European Atherosclerosis Society, together with BASF, Raisio and Danone. Together, we have developed an online tutorial to educate healthcare professionals on the role that cholesterol lowering can play in the prevention of heart disease.
It covers diet and lifestyle changes required to reduce cholesterol levels, the role of added plant sterols and stanols in cholesterol lowering, and how to identify patients who will benefit from them. The tutorial is available in English, French and Dutch and since the launch in 2014 it has already been viewed by 5,000 health professionals.
Becel Centre for Heart Health in Canada
Our Becel Centre for Heart Health (BCHH) has been dedicated to engaging with healthcare professionals (HCPs) in Canada since 1978. BCHH promotes heart-healthy diets and lifestyles through a variety of initiatives. It offers accredited continuing medical education programmes for doctors and dieticians, both online and at key medical conferences. Since 2007, over 18,000 HCPs have participated in these programmes.
For example, in 2015, 1,700 general practitioners participated in a programme on the effectiveness of plant sterols. As a result, 69% supported the use of Becel ProActiv in a heart-healthy diet to help reduce cholesterol.
Over the last few years, BCHH has run an educational and cooking programme for over 1,000 registered dieticians, including those working in supermarkets. As a result, 80% of these dieticians said that they feel better equipped to answer patient questions relating to dietary fats and heart health.
BCHH maintains a dedicated website for HCPs, offering regulated professionals the opportunity to download or order free-of-charge patient-friendly tools and resources available in multiple languages to aid in heart health counselling within their busy and diverse practices.