Health drink brand Bournvita, owned by Mondelez India, has got embroiled in a social media storm after a video by a social media influencer went viral.

The packaged food major, termed it an “unscientific video” that “distorted facts” by making false inferences about the brand’s safety and efficacy.

Dismissing the claims made by social media influencer Revant Himatsingka in his video, Mondelez India said that “the presenter’s comments are not based on science and were designed to drive anxiety and fear among our consumers by misrepresenting the facts and omitting factually correct information to sensationalise his view.”

Himatsingka in his video which received about 12 million views on Instagram made claims such as the brand having high sugar levels.

In his Instagram post on April 14, he stated, “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 April 13, 2023.”

Social media users’ support

However, several social media users have been reposting the video in support of the influencer whose Twitter account has been suspended. Hashtags such as #BoycottBournvita were also seen trending on Twitter.

“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. We would like to clarify that we had no play in actions around the presenter’s Twitter account,” clarified Mondelez India.

The incident has also sparked a larger health debate on social media.

FSSAI health star rating norms

This also comes at a time when the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been mulling bringing in Health Star Rating (HSR) norms for packaged food. The food safety authority is learned to be examining comments that it has received from various stakeholders.

“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. All ingredients are safe, approved for use, and within permissible limits as per the regulatory guidelines,” said Mondelez India in its statement.