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HUL drops ‘Health level’ and Rebrands Horlicks as ‘Functional and Nutritional Drinks’

New Delhi: Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), the parent company of renowned brands like ‘Horlicks’ and ‘Boost’, has taken a significant step by removing the term “health” from the labels of its products. Instead, the company has repositioned its brands as “Functional and Nutritional Drinks”.

This strategic decision by HUL follows directives from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which instructed e-commerce platforms to remove all drinks and beverages from the ‘health’ category due to concerns over high sugar content. The Centre emphasized that the sugar levels in these beverages exceed acceptable limits.

In a recent regulatory filing, HUL reported a 1.53 percent decline in consolidated net profit to ₹2,561 crore for the fourth quarter of FY24. Despite this, the company highlighted the growth of its Functional Nutritional Drinks segment, driven by the Plus range of products. Additionally, HUL reaffirmed the strengthening of its market leadership in the tea segment, both in terms of value and volume.

The Ministry’s directive came after an inquiry conducted by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which concluded that there is no specific definition of a ‘health drink’ under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSS Act) of 2006. The NCPCR’s investigation, conducted under Section 14 of the CPCR Act 2005, highlighted the lack of regulatory clarity on the classification of beverages as ‘health drinks’.

As per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), beverages cannot be labeled as ‘health drinks’ if they do not comply with the definitions outlined in India’s food laws. In line with these regulations, FSSAI has instructed e-commerce platforms to refrain from categorizing dairy-based or malt-based beverages as ‘health drinks’.

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