Advts of Maggi Nutri-licious Atta Noodles and Alia bhatt endorsed Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water found to be false. Class Action Suits filed on both companies.
NGO, Ahmedabad has filed two cases before the District Forum against Nestle India Ltd and L’Oreal India Pvt. Ltd for their misleading advertisements. The advts of Nestle’s Maggi Nutri-licious Atta Noodles and L’Oreal’s Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (endorsed by Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt) were found to be making false claims.
Making false and misleading claims is considered an unfair trade practice under Section 2(r)(1)(i) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The complaints were also filed as class action suits on behalf of the numerous members of the public who would had been misled by the advertisements.
Maggi Nutri-licious Atta Noodles: The Maggi advt claims that the product contains “fibre of 3 rotis” and is “packed with veggies”. These claims are found on the website of Nestle and also on the package of the product purchased by the complainant. Questioning the claims, CERS got the product tested at an NABL accredited laboratory.
Our tests revealed that the product had only 5.63g of fibre against the labeled 6g. Moreover, for the claim of ‘fibre of 3 rotis’ the fibre has to be 10.2g (as per the Indian Food Composition Tables (2017) NIN, ICMR, dietary fibre content in wheat flour (atta) is 11.36g/100g. Hence three rotis each made of 30g atta (3×3.4) will give fibre of 10.2 g.) So the claim of fibre of 3 rotis is found to be false.
Claims Vs Facts
Fibre of 3 rotis Only 5.63g against standard requirement of 10.2g
Packed with veggies Only 5g in 80g packet
Nutrilicious High in sodium (985mg/100g). As per UK Food Standard Agency (FSA)
sodium content of more than 550mg/100g in a product is considered to be high
The second claim of being ‘packed with veggies’ also proved to be false. Only a few small pieces of vegetables were included in the tastemaker package. The package of 80g contained only 5 g of vegetables. Nestle is trying to project the product as healthy with the help of false claims related to fibre and vegetable content.
Additionally, Maggi Nutri-licious Atta Noodles is also very high in sodium content. The product contained 985 mg/100g of sodium. As per UK Food Standard Agency (FSA) sodium content of more than 550mg/100g in a product is considered to be high. For sodium, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 6 gm per day as per World Health Organisation (WHO). In Maggi Nutri-licious Atta Noodles, sodium content in one serving (80 gm) itself is almost double than the RDA. This is not good for health as per the report of the Expert Group on consumption of fat, sugar and salt. As such there was a “defect” in the product as it contained too much sodium and did not match the advertising claim of being nutrilicious. The branding of the product as “nutri-licious” by the company, which suggests that the
product is delicious as well as nutritious, is false and misleading.
In its complaint, CERS appealed to the consumer court to direct Nestle to pay Rs. 3 lakh, refund the price of the product and issue a corrective advt. In addition, the company should pay Rs. 5,000 to the complainant as compensation for mental harassment and Rs. 5,000 towards litigation costs.
Alia Bhatt endorsed Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water: The TVC shows clips of Alia Bhatt and two other girls applying lipstick, eye and face makeup saying that they love it. But cleanup is so tough. Then Alia tells her secret of cleaning up makeup: “Use Garnier Micellar – pour, press, swipe; Makeup off in just one swipe”.
Questioning the claim, CERC complained to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). ASCI upheld CERC’s complaint finding the advt misleading by exaggeration. Moreover, the L'Oreal could not provide any evidence to show that Alia Bhatt had done due diligence prior to endorsement, to ensure that all the descriptions and claims made in the advt. were capable of substantiation by L'Oreal.
ASCI observed that the claim “make up off in just one swipe” accompanied by the visual implying complete removal of kajal and lipstick were not substantiated. The claim is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers, said ASCI.
In order to test the performance of the product, CERS purchased it and found that, contrary to the claims in the advt, it took vigorous scrubbing and additional pouring of the product on the cotton swab to remove the kajal and lipstick. The claim “no harsh rubbing” made on the pack proved to be false.
Further, for complete removal of makeup residue, a face wash had to be used and therefore the claim “no makeup residue” also proved false. As the makeup was not removed in one swipe and required more usage of the product, followed by a face wash to remove the makeup residue, it all meant additional financial burden on the consumer.
In its complaint, CERS appealed to the consumer court to direct L’Oreal to refrain from broadcast of the TVC and issue a corrective advt. In addition, the company should deposit Rs. 50,000 in the Consumer Welfare Fund of Gujarat. The company should pay Rs. 5,000 to the complainant as compensation for mental harassment and Rs. 5,000 towards litigation costs.
Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS) has been working relentlessly towards reducing the menace of misleading advts by actively monitoring and reporting false, misleading and objectionable advertisements to the regulatory authorities. The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Government of India, has awarded a project to CERC to study misleading advts.