Who cares? Yes, that's what most people would say but FSSAI does care. In 2011, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) came with a directive for food companies that made it mandatory for them to tell the consumers what exactly they were eating. The authority decided that only products made with milk fat could be called ice cream; the rest, made with edible vegetable oil or palm oil, along with milk solids, had to be sold as 'frozen desserts'.
Now, this has led to an ugly war between two of the country’s biggest packaged food companies, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Amul, battling it out in court. HUL sells the Kwality Wall’s brand, and like most ice-cream manufacturers, they also use vegetable oil as a smoothening agent for their products, along with other milk solids.
Vegetable oil helps reduce production costs because it is cheaper than dairy fat. But the FSSAI said that products made with pure milk fat were richer and healthier than their oil-based counterparts. Amul, played smart and came out with an advertisement calling its products - real milk, real ice-cream. This has obviously upset the other brands like Kwality, Vadilal, etc. They are crying foul over the ad and they have taken Amul to court over it.
In a statement to TOI, an HUL company spokesperson, said: "Amul has been airing a misleading television commercial since March 2017. This advertisement makes factually incorrect statements creating apprehensions among consumers of frozen desserts. The advertisement makes incorrect claims about the usage of 'vanaspati/vanaspati-tel' in frozen dessert products. We wish to clarify that Kwality Wall's range of 'frozen desserts' do not contain Vanaspati. In fact, Kwality Wall's range of frozen desserts contain milk/milk solids like ice creams. The only difference is that frozen desserts use vegetable fat instead of dairy fat, which actually makes them healthier as they have lower saturated fat and do not have cholesterol."
While Amul is 'educating' consumers on the pros of having milk-based ice-cream, on the other hand, HUL has put up on its website the benefits of vegetable fat as opposed to milk fat. The matter is sub-judice now, as reported by Quartz website. It remains to be seen who wins the heated cold war.