Health drink brand Bournvita on Monday refuted claims made by a social media influencer regarding its high sugar content. The Mondelez India-owned brand dismissed the influencer’s video as “unscientific” and containing “distorted facts and false, negative inferences.”
Although the influencer, Revant Himatsingka, received a legal notice from the company and subsequently removed the video, it continued to circulate widely on social media, causing concern for the confectionery giant.
Bournvita released a statement asserting that, over the past seven decades, it has earned the trust of Indian consumers by providing a scientifically formulated product that adheres to quality standards and complies with all relevant laws.
‘Video created panic, anxiety’
“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,” said a Bournvita spokesperson.
However, it also said the video has created “panic, anxiety, and questions the trust that consumers have bestowed on brands like Bournvita.”
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It further added: “As we continued to witness an abnormal and unusual amount of traction on the post, we were constrained to take legal recourse to avoid misinformation. We also issued a statement to clarify and share the correct facts to allay the concerns of our consumers.” However, the company also clarified it had “no play in actions around the presenter’s Twitter account.”
Deleted video racked up around 12 million views
The deleted video has racked up around 12 million views and was also shared across social media platforms. It was later shared by actor-politician Paresh Rawal and former cricketer and MP Kirti Azad.
In the video, Himatsingka who presents himself as a nutritionist and a health coach, claimed that Bournvita has sugar, cocoa solids and cancer-causing colourant.
However, he deleted the video after the legal notice and posted a statement on Instagram saying: “I have decided to take down the video across all platforms after receiving a legal notice from one of India’s biggest law firms on 13th April 2023.
“I apologize to Cadbury for making the video. I did not plan or intend to infringe any trademark or defame any company nor do I have the interest or resources to participate in any court cases and I request MNCs to not take this forward legally,” he said.
‘Formulation has been scientifically crafted’
In its statement, Bournvita said: “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,” it added.
The company said Bournvita is best consumed with a glass of 200 millilitre of hot or cold milk as highlighted on the pack.
“Every serving of 20 gm of Bournvita has 7.5 grams of added sugar, which is approximately one and a half teaspoons. This is much less than the daily recommended intake limits of sugar for children,” said Mondelez India, the company which owns popular brands such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, 5 Star, Oreo cookie and Gems.
Moreover, over Caramel Colour (150 C), Bournvita said it “is within permissible limits as per guidelines defined by regulations”. “All ingredients are safe, approved for use and within permissible limits as per the regulatory guidelines,” it said.
(With Agency inputs)