Rebranding of Horlicks and Boost

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has announced the rebranding of its popular beverages, Horlicks and Boost, dropping the ‘health’ label and positioning them as “Functional and Nutritional drinks.” This decision comes in response to directives from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to remove all drinks and beverages from the ‘health’ category on e-commerce platforms due to concerns about their high sugar content.

Reason Behind the Decision

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry highlighted that the sugar content in these drinks exceeds acceptable limits, prompting the need for a reevaluation of their categorization. In compliance with these directives, HUL has taken steps to reposition its products to align with regulatory requirements and consumer expectations.

Impact on Branding

The rebranding of Horlicks and Boost reflects a strategic shift in positioning, emphasizing their functional and nutritional attributes rather than solely focusing on their health benefits. By reframing the narrative surrounding these beverages, HUL aims to maintain consumer trust and compliance with regulatory standards.

Financial Performance

Despite the rebranding efforts, HUL reported a 1.53% decline in consolidated net profit to ₹2,561 crore for the fourth quarter of FY24. However, the company noted that its functional nutritional drinks segment, including Horlicks and Boost, witnessed high single-digit growth driven by the Plus range, indicating positive reception among consumers.

Ministry’s Directive

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, acting on recommendations from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), issued directives to address concerns regarding misleading labeling of health drinks. These directives underscore the importance of transparency and compliance with food safety regulations.

Definition of ‘Health Drink’

According to the regulatory authorities, there is no specific definition of ‘health drink’ under the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006. Therefore, labeling beverages as health drinks without adhering to established guidelines constitutes a violation of regulatory norms. The FSSAI has instructed e-commerce platforms to refrain from categorizing dairy-based or malt-based beverages as health drinks.

Impact on Other Brands

The controversy surrounding health drinks extends beyond Horlicks and Boost, as evidenced by the NCPCR’s previous action against Bournvita for misleading advertisements and packaging. The scrutiny of sugar content in beverages highlights the growing emphasis on promoting healthier dietary choices and transparent labeling practices.

Future Implications

As companies adapt to evolving regulatory requirements and consumer preferences, the rebranding of Horlicks and Boost underscores the need for greater accountability and transparency in the food and beverage industry. Moving forward, stakeholders must prioritize the promotion of nutritious products while adhering to regulatory guidelines to safeguard consumer health and well-being.

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Rishi Malhotra, an adept editor at Atom News, specializes in travel and cultural affairs. With a global perspective and a flair for storytelling, Malhotra brings diverse perspectives to our readers, making Atom News a go-to source for enriching travel narratives.