Our History

Our company has been a leader in the plant-based spreads industry from the very beginning, when the patent for making plant-based spreads was acquired from its inventor, Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès in 1871. The company became known as Unilever in 1930 following a merger between Margarine Unie and Lever Brothers. The business continued to grow significantly through the years, when in December 2017, the business was sold and relaunched as Upfield.

Upfield today stands at the forefront of a new era, as the world is moving toward plant-based nutrition.

“We have the responsibility to transform the way people eat, to define a unique food category, and to positively impact the health and care of future generations.”

David Haines, Group Chief Executive Officer

kids eating plant-based lunch

History in detail

1869

First plant-based spread created by Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès for Napoleon III due to butter shortage

In 1871, a Dutch company called Jurgens bought the patent for margarine from Mège-Mouriès and the very first spread was manufactured. The company then joined with competitor Van den Bergh to form the Margarine Unie company which then went on to merge with the Lever Brothers to become Unilever.

Stork margarine advertising

1900’s

Invention of the hardening of oil leading to the first plant-based spreads

1940’s

Development of the votator process and the spreads tub, for high quality spreads at lower fat levels

Pheasant Margarine on newspaper
Vitello delicatesse advertising

1960’s

Introduction of new technology for reduced saturated fats and improved nutrition

1990’s

All of our brands begin to eliminate trans-fat and there’s the introduction of Omega 3 rich plant oils

Stork baking margarine

2000’s

Proactiv launches with plant sterols to actively lower cholesterol

woman eating plant-based breakfast

Management team

Meet Upfield’s Management Team

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agriculture field

Sustainability

Upfield’s approach to Sustainability.

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