After a video alleged that the health beverage had a high sugar content, the nation’s top child rights organization, the National Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights (NCPCR), on Wednesday requested that Bournvita, a brand owned by Mondelez India, remove all “misleading” ads, packaging, and labeling.
The NCPCR further instructed the confectionary major in a notification to give a thorough justification or report to the panel within seven days.
The announcement was made in response to a controversy that was started by a social media influencer who claimed in a video that Bournvita contains a lot of sugar.
After receiving a legal warning from Mondelez India, the influencer, Revant Himatsingka, removed the video from all platforms, but not before it had amassed close to 12 million views and was extensively shared.
The NCPCR said that it had received a complaint saying that, despite Bournvita’s claims that it promotes children’s growth and development, it really contains a high percentage of sugar and other ingredients that could be harmful to a child’s health.
The child rights organisation wrote in a letter to Deepak Iyer, president of Mondelez International in India, “The commission in this regard notices that the product created by your firm is misleading the customers through its product packaging and ads. The commission notes that your product’s statements on the label, packaging, presentation, and advertising are deceptive to the general public.
The NCPCR said that the product’s branding and packaging further misrepresents the truth about the ingredients utilised in the Bournvita health drink.
It asked Mondelez International to review and withdraw all “misleading advertisements, packaging and labels, and further send a detailed explanation/report to apprise the commission in the said matter within seven days”.
Responding to the viral videos, Bournvita had earlier said that over the last seven decades, it has “earned the trust of consumers in India by being a scientifically formulated product that adheres to quality standards and complies with the laws of the land”.
“We would again like to reinforce that the formulation has been scientifically crafted by a team of nutritionists and food scientists to offer the best of taste and health. All our claims are verified and transparent and all ingredients have regulatory approvals. All the necessary nutritional information is mentioned on the pack for consumers to make informed choices,” a Bournvita spokesperson had said.