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Juice wars: ITC revises BNatural ad ‘disparaging’ concentrate, following suit from PepsiCo India’s Tropicana

“ITC Ltd on Monday agreed to remove all references to PepsiCo’s Tropicana brand from an advertisement campaign for its juice brand BNatural,” reported Mint. The suit was filed by PepsiCo India against consumer goods major ITC on the ground that its recent advertisement campaign which specifically targeted PepsiCo’s juice brand Tropicana, using the hashtag #SayNoToConcentrate was disparaging.

By its orders dated April 6, 2018 and April 9, 2018, the Delhi High Court inter-alia restrained ITC from publishing these advertisements on print, electronic and social media. The Court allowed ITC to conduct its promotional event on April 9, 2018 after it undertook to not use or refer to PepsiCo’s product Tropicana, which has approximately 28% market share in the Indian packaged juice market, in any manner or disparage it.

A J Sagar Associates (JSA) team acted as the legal advisors to PepsiCo India Holdings before the Delhi High Court in the suit against ITC, and comprised of partner Dheeraj Nair, senior associate Kunal Mimami and associate Shruti Dass.

ITC which under its juice brand BNatural, launched the 100% ‘concentrate free’ pomegranate juice last year, had extended invitation to rival brands PepsiCo’s Tropicana and Dabur’s Real to join in their campaign to abandon concentrates and making Indian juices concentrate-free from April 9, citing the World Health Day. Dabur’s marketing head - foods division, Mayank Kumar however said, “This is a gimmick aimed at spreading misinformation that fruit concentrates are unhealthy and not made from fruits, which is an utter lie.” also adding that, many of the variants of ITC BNatural available in the market are also made from fruit concentrates only.

With the onset of the summer season and the Indian consumers increasingly looking out for healthier options, juices have overpowered the cola market by emerging as the fastest growing segment in the beverages industry. Competitive ads, fight for retail shelf space and new product launches have prevailed between rivals to milk the Indian summer months for every drop of sales.

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