Unilever is hoping that its healthy version of Hellmann's will help transform the brand into a £128m (US$224.2m) 'master brand' proposition within five years. The move comes as food and drink producers increasingly recognise that healthy solutions are sought by dieters and non-dieters alike and highlights the continuing relevance of 'low and lite' in product development.
 
Hellmann's Extra Light will be supported by a £1.9m marketing campaign and will be promoted through television and press advertising, along with in-store marketing and point-of-sale material, below-the-line activity and sampling.
 
The product, containing just 6% fat, will be the only mayonnaise on sale in the UK with less than 10% fat. Standard offerings like Hellmann's Real contain around 79% fat, while Hellmann's Light contains 29.8%. In its research the company identified that high fat content was the biggest barrier to attracting new users as well as restricting the amount consumed by more loyal users.
 
The company hopes that its latest launch will sell four million jars in its first year. This forecast is primarily based on the belief that the new product will capitalise on a growing trend in favour of healthy eating. The optimism behind the launch is also because Hellmann's Light has proved successful, selling almost as much as Hellmann's Real.
 
Hellmann's is regarded as one of Unilever's six UK master brands. The company has staked its future on the performance of its top brands, which account for 92% of Unilever's business. Consequently, Hellmann's has recently received renewed focus because it forms an integral part of Unilever's 'Path to Growth' strategy, which concentrates on core global brands including Flora, Lipton and Bertolli. Part of the focus included the addition of Hellmann's snack sauces earlier this year in a bid to tap into a younger market.
 
Until recently, marketers had often been marketing healthy product alternatives specifically to dieters. However, in recognition of the fact that so many dieters lack the willpower to sustain any weight loss and often diet sporadically throughout the year, marketers can help lessen the guilt by offering consumers their favourite brands in formats that seem more healthy than the original version. That's why the concept of 'low and lite' will retain its importance to food and drink innovation in the coming years.

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