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Court imposes temporary restriction on Saffola Soya advertisement following Emami Agrotech’s appeal

A district court has passed an order for temporary restriction on a Saffola Soya advertisement following an appeal by Emami Agrotech, an Emami group company. The brand Saffola is owned by Marico.

IMG Soyameal

“The defendant/company is restrained from broadcasting/telecasting the impugned advertisement depicting that their soya chunks are the best products amongst all similar competing products across India till November 23, 2023,” the Howrah Civil Court said in its order.

Advocate for Emami Agrotech submitted before the court that the company is a manufacturer and seller of diverse products of edible oil, soya chunks, and spices and publishes its product through advertisement in different electronic, news print, and digital media. On the other hand, the defendant company (Marico) is a manufacturer of a wide range of FMCG products including the brand “Saffola Soya” for selling soya chunks.

Emami Agrotech complained that it was informed by its market monitoring team that the defendant/company has been making advertisements for its product Saffola Soya as “Bharatborsher sobcheye naram ar sushsadu soya”, which means it is the softest and tasty soya in India.

It was submitted by Emami Agrotech that the said advertisement by the defendant/company “is misleading, demeaning and disparaging the plaintiff’s soya chunks as well as others soya products across India and it is contrary to the provision of Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 and its rules thereunder.”

“Thus, the use of said impugned advertisement by the defendant/company has resulted in delusion and debasement of goodwill and reputation of the plaintiff/company thereby causing irreparable loss and injury,” it added.

“On perusal of the resolution and several advertisements produced before this court, it prima facie appears that there exists no subscript in the advertisement published by the defendant/company in respect of its soya chunks that it is India’s best soya chunks as per the survey made by a third independent organization or any standard Bureau. There prima facie appears no justifiable claim on the part of the defendant’s soya chunks that is uniquely best in India,” the court said in its order on October 18.

When contacted, a Marico spokesperson said, “We are aware of the ex-parte injunction order obtained by Emami Agrotech in relation to one of our claims for Saffalo Soya Chunks. We want to clarify that all claims regarding Saffola products are made in accordance with the applicable laws and advertising guidelines.”

Since the matter is currently sub-judice, Marico would like to refrain from making any comments on it, the spokesperson said, adding the company is confident in the merits of its claims and will take necessary measures to safeguard the interests of both its products and consumers.

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