Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday adjourned the matter on a plea seeking to have an Amul ice cream ad taken down for allegedly denigrating frozen desserts.
HUL, the maker of Kwality Walls ice-cream, has sued Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF), owner of the Amul brand, for running ads that emphasize the regulatory difference between ice-cream and frozen desserts and for implying the latter are made with hydrogenated vegetable oil. HUL moved the Bombay high court on 24 March.
Justice S.J. Kathawala asked GCMMF to file an affidavit in court by 3 April and fixed the next date of hearing for 5 April.
HUL, represented by Khaitan & Co., argued in court that GCMMF “harmed” the Kwality Walls brand by representing frozen desserts as “solids” made with vanaspati, or hydrogenated vegetable oil, in its advertisements.
“This is a false depiction”, HUL’s counsel said. “They (GCMMF) are making the situation worse by equating the two (vanaspati and vegetable oil) and then referring to the statutory body (FSSAI).”
FSSAI is the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.
The ad in question is a television commercial and print ad that Amul is running with the tagline “Real Ice-Cream, Amul Ice-Cream”. The ad shows a cup with the label “frozen dessert” and a semi-solid dropping into it. HUL argued that this wrongly implied frozen desserts are made with hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is solid at room temperature. In a later disclaimer, Amul said that vanaspati tel is edible vegetable oil.
As per the rules of the FSSAI, ice-creams made from vegetable fat instead of milk or dairy fat are to be legally called frozen desserts. Kwality Walls is labelled a frozen dessert.
HUL’s counsel added that Kwality Walls was the largest frozen desserts maker in India, with more than 50% market share.
GCMMF is the largest dairy company in the country, as per a Euromonitor report, with a 17% market share.