Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Vadilal takes “Amul” ice cream maker to court over a television commercial

Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Vadilal takes "Amul" ice cream maker to court over a television commercial

Mumba, March25:i At the onset of summer season, mercury levels are on the rise with ice cream and frozen dessert makers locked in a legal battle. Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Vadilal Group have joined forces to take on “Amul” ice cream maker Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) over a television commercial, which allegedly belittles “frozen desserts”.

HUL, which markets “Kwality Walls”, has filed a case in the Bombay high court against GCMMF, terming the latter’s recently launched TV advertisement as “misleading”. Vadilal Industries and Vadilal Dairy International, which also manufacture frozen desserts, have a common interest in the matter and are supporting HUL in the suit.

HUL has sought immediate removal of the advertisement which, according to GCMMF, was launched to “educate consumers to identify and differentiate between ice-cream and frozen desserts”. The advertisement talks about Amul ice creams being made from “real milk” as opposed to “frozen desserts” which are made from “vegetable oil”. The advertisement, however, does not name any brand.

In response to TOI’s query, an HUL company spokesperson, said: “Amul has been airing a misleading television commercial since March 2017. This advertisement makes factually incorrect statements creating apprehensions among consumers of frozen desserts. The advertisement makes incorrect claims about the usage of ‘vanaspati/vanaspati-tel’ in frozen dessert products. We wish to clarify that Kwality Wall’s range of ‘frozen desserts’ do not contain Vanaspati. In fact, Kwality Wall’s range of frozen desserts contain milk/milk solids like ice creams. The only difference is that frozen desserts use vegetable fat instead of dairy fat, which actually makes them healthier as they have lower saturated fat and do not have cholesterol.” TOI’s query did not elicit a response from Vadilal Group.
When contacted, R S Sodhi, MD, GCMMF, said: “Frozen desserts are masquerading as ice creams. By using low-cost ingredients, they are misleading consumers who are looking for real product. We are trying to make consumers aware of the difference.” Sodhi said the company will not be “intimidated” by the legal notice of HUL.

“It is unfortunate that Indian companies which genuinely work in interest of milk producers and consumers alike are being threatened with legal suits for airing facts. It is our responsibility to educate customers about ‘analogues’ products so that consumers know what they are purchasing. However, being a dairy cooperative, it is a part of mandate to promote the goodness of milk and milk products so that the future of millions of poor milk producers of our country is protected,” Sodhi said.
The debate on which is healthier—milk fat based ice creams or vegetable fat based frozen desserts—is not new. When milk fat is used along with milk solids, the product falls under the definition of “ice cream”, whereas when vegetable fat is used in addition to milk solids, the product is termed as “frozen desserts”.
While on one hand, GCMMF is conveying the message of what it believes to be true, through advertisements which claim milk fat is better than vegetable fat, HUL, on the other, has put up on its brand’s website the benefits of vegetable fat as opposed to milk fat.
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