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.
Trends over the last couple of years have shown a greater demand for margarine over butter. " 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. " Unwanted trans fats that are deemed to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease are avoided.