Bournvita reduces sugar content by 14.4%, months after row with influencer FoodPharmer

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Chocolate health drinks are a popular modern tradition among parents. The usual glass of milk, combined with the flavouring, makes it desirable for children; and a tastier alternative to plain milk in their eyes. That is why it came as a huge shock to many guardians when Revant Himatsingka’s (FoodPharmer) video on Bournvita revealed how unhealthy the popular health drink really is. The drink consumed by millions across the nation had 37.4 grams of sugar per 100 grams. This accounts for almost half the bottle.

In a recent update, Bournvita’s manufacturer, Cadbury, revealed that it has reduced its sugar content by 14.4 percent. This change comes after the backlash the company faced after FoodPharmer’s video went viral. After the reduction, the new packaging relays the reduced sugar content, which is now at 32.2 grams per 100 grams. 

In the light of this development, the health influencer celebrated the news on his social media platforms. He highlighted the importance of truthful marketing and the power of social media. It is well known among Himatsingka’s followers that his main priority does not lie in targeting junk food brands but rather unhealthy brands that market their products as ‘healthy’.

I have said this many, many times in interviews. I don’t have a problem with junk food, but a problem with junk food marketing itself as healthy. Peanut butter is marketed as high-protein when it is in fact high-calorie and medium-protein. New-age brands are doing the same as legacy brands,” shared Himatsingka with The Story Watch in a previous interview.

This is not the first time a company has changed its ingredients because of FoodPharmer’s efforts. Previously, Nestle’s Maggi Ketchup also reduced its sugar content after a video by him went viral.

Learn more about FoodPharmer’s quest for food transparency.

The Bournvita Controversy 

On April 1, Himatsingka made a video accusing Cadbury of making false claims about the health benefits of its popular health drink, Bournvita. He revealed its nutritional value doesn’t match its advertised claims. The ingredients contain almost 50 grams of sugar, cocoa solids, and even colourants suspected to be carcinogenic. He criticised their tagline and said it is not ‘Taiyaari Jeet Ki’ but rather ‘Tayaari Diabetes Ki’.

The video received widespread support and was even shared by influential figures like Paresh Rawal and Kirti Azad. Under pressure from the brand, Himatsingka was forced to take down the video and received a legal notice from Cadbury. The company claimed that there was no accuracy behind his claims and that they were ‘unscientific’.

The row even caught the attention of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). It issued a legal notice to Cadbury India, demanding the withdrawal of all “misleading” advertisements and packaging related to Bournvita. Moreover, they requested a detailed explanation for the drink’s high sugar content. This interrogation revealed that the drink indeed contains a detrimental amount of sugar and other harmful substances.

Photo showing Bournvita's new and old packaging with a 14% reduction in the sugar content

Now, eight months later, the brand has stepped up and finally reduced the sugar content. Celebrating this change, Himatsingka revealed how he still doesn’t consider Bournvita a ‘health drink’. Yet, the change is a positive step in the right direction. In his post, he urges consumers to remain vigilant and hold the food industry accountable for their actions.

“Bournvita has taken a crucial step, so it is a positive step in the right direction. These things take time. And the bigger thing is that I made a video, and this happened. What if everyone starts doing this? There will be so much more change,” shared Himatsingka.

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