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Patanjali Foods Scrambles to Distance Itself from Ayurveda Ad Controversy

Patanjali Foods Limited (PFL), the FMCG giant, clarifies it is not involved in the Supreme Court contempt case against Patanjali Ayurved for misleading advertisements. PFL emphasizes it's a separate entity dealing in edible oils, food products, and windmills.

Patanjali Foods Scrambles to Distance Itself from Ayurveda Ad Controversy

Patanjali Foods Maintains Distance from Ayurveda Ad Controversy

In a move to control potential damage, Patanjali Foods Limited (PFL) issued a clarification on Tuesday. This clarification came just hours after the Supreme Court of India summoned yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna, Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved, for a contempt case. The case is related to allegedly misleading advertisements promoting Patanjali Ayurved's products.

 

Separate Entities, Separate Concerns

Patanjali Foods strives to distance itself from the controversy. The company emphasizes that the Supreme Court's action pertains solely to advertisements for ayurvedic products and medicines under Patanjali Ayurved Limited. Patanjali Foods underlines its position as a distinct, listed entity. The company clarifies its operations focus on edible oil, food FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) products, oil palm plantation, and windmills.

 

Financial Repercussions and Reassurances

The news of the Supreme Court notice sent shockwaves through the financial markets. Shares of Patanjali Foods reportedly tumbled over 5% following the announcement. In an attempt to calm investor anxieties, Patanjali Foods reiterated its adherence to SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) regulations. The company assured that it diligently discloses all relevant events and information to the stock exchanges as mandated by regulation 30.

 

Understanding the Contempt Case

The crux of the legal issue lies in Patanjali Ayurved's alleged violation of an assurance given to the Supreme Court in November 2023. During that hearing, Patanjali Ayurved pledged to refrain from advertising or branding its products as offering "permanent relief" for various ailments like obesity, blood pressure, and asthma. These claims are deemed to be in violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.

 

A Failure to Respond and The Court's Reaction

The Supreme Court's decision to summon Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna stems from Patanjali Ayurved's apparent failure to respond to previous notices issued in the contempt proceedings. This lack of response likely played a significant role in the Court's decision to escalate the matter.

 

A Hurdle for Patanjali Ayurved's Image?

While Patanjali Foods attempts to separate itself from the controversy, the negative publicity surrounding Patanjali Ayurved's advertising practices could potentially impact the brand image of both companies. Consumers may choose to associate the misleading advertisement issue with all of Patanjali's offerings.

 

The Road Ahead: Legal Battles and Brand Management

Patanjali Ayurved now faces the challenge of navigating the contempt case and addressing the Supreme Court's concerns. The company will need to demonstrate compliance with advertising regulations and potentially reformulate its marketing strategies to avoid similar issues in the future. For Patanjali Foods, effective communication and clear differentiation from Patanjali Ayurved will be crucial in mitigating any negative impact on its own business operations.

 

A Broader Conversation: Responsible Advertising in the Wellness Industry

This legal battle highlights the growing scrutiny on advertising practices within the Indian wellness industry, particularly regarding Ayurveda. The case serves as a reminder for all companies in this sector to ensure their marketing claims are accurate, responsible, and compliant with regulations.

 


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