Gujarat Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF), which sells its products under Amul brand, defended its TV commercial for ice cream apart from accusing HUL of resorting to "stunt to pressurise and frighten" it. FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has moved Bombay High Court against Amul over the commercial, which suggests to consumers to buy Amul ice cream and not the 'frozen dessert' as the latter was made from vegetable oil and was not healthy.
Talking to reporters in Ahmedabad, GCMMF Managing Director R SSodhi said HUL's litigation is a "stunt". "HUL, which makes frozen dessert, has challenged our latest TV commercial that aims to create awareness among consumers about the difference between ice cream and frozen dessert.
The latter is made from vegetable oil, while ice cream is made from milk fat," he said. "This is HUL's stunt to pressurise and frighten us into submission. But they don't know that we are backed by 36 lakh poor farmers who want to make consumers aware about theproducts they are buying," he said.
He further said HUL had dragged Amul to Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) in 2016 objecting to the latter's move to distribute pamphlets on the same issue, butthe ASCI ruled in its favour, saying that Amul's campaign"does not disparage the entire campaign of frozen dessert."
Sodhi said ice cream is made from milk fat while frozen dessert is made from vegetable fat, and cannot be called an ice cream. "FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has named this category as frozen dessert. We thought of informing our consumers to check on the packet of the product to ensureif it is icecream or frozen dessert," he said.
"Even FSSAI allows us to inform our users about ourproducts, and I don't think we have made any mistake... We have just informed consumers and left it for them to decide."
Amul is looking at Rs 1,000-1,100 crore market share in ice cream segment in 2017, he said. Sodhi said Amul had created a similar "awareness"campaign differentiating between butter and margarine, and isalso planning to launch another campaign regarding cheese and cheese analogues.
The Amul MD further said that GCMMF is looking at sales turnover of Rs 27,000 crore during FY 2016-17 with a rise ofaround 18 per cent over 2016. The company is looking to expand its capacity in coming years and also launch newproducts in sweets and snacks, he added. He said that GCMMF plans to invest Rs 2,000 crore forexpansion in another two years.