A district court has issued a temporary restraining order on a Saffola Soya advertisement in response to a petition filed by Emami Agrotech, a subsidiary of the Emami Group. The Saffola brand is under the ownership of Marico.
“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.
Emami Agrotech’s legal representative informed the court that the company engages in the production and sale of various edible oil products, soya chunks, and spices, promoting its products through advertising across various electronic, print, and digital media platforms. In contrast, the defendant company, Marico, is a manufacturer of a diverse range of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), including the “Saffola Soya” brand for marketing soya chunks.
Emami Agrotech lodged a complaint, stating that its market monitoring team had notified them of the defendant company’s advertisements for its product Saffola Soya, claiming it to be “Bharatborsher sobcheye naram ar sushsadu soya,” which translates to the softest and most delicious soya in India.
Emami Agrotech argued that the defendant/company’s advertisement “is deceptive, derogatory, and discredits not only the plaintiff’s soya chunks but also other soya products throughout India, contravening the provisions of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006, and its associated regulations.”
“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.”
The spokesperson stated that, as the case is currently under legal consideration, Marico prefers not to provide any comments at this time. They further mentioned that the company maintains confidence in the validity of its assertions and will undertake appropriate actions to protect the interests of both its products and consumers.