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Bournvita controversy exposed: Why can it no longer be kept in the health drink category? understand the whole thing

The popularity of healthy beverages is increasing in Indian households, Bournvita is a well-known name in this category. But now it cannot be considered a health drink. Which has sparked controversy and debate.

Many generations in India have grown up drinking Bournvita as a ‘health drink’ and I am one of them, the reason for this is that ever since Bournvita was launched in the country, it has been shown as a health drink in advertisements. . The central government has asked all e-commerce websites to remove Bournvita from the health drinks category of drinks and beverages from their platforms.

Bournvita’s Legacy:

Bournvita controversy exposed

For generations, Bournvita has been synonymous with health and nutrition in India. Since its introduction, it has been marketed as a health drink, gaining the trust of consumers across the country. However, recent investigations have raised questions about its actual nutritional value. And two weeks before this, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had issued a notice to Bournvita. The Commission had asked the company to review and withdraw all its misleading advertisements, packaging and labels.

government intervention:

Bournvita controversy exposed
Pic Credit: Google

There is no exact definition of anything called ‘health drink’ in Indian law. This order of the Central Government on Bournvita also came for this reason. The National Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights (NCPCR) found in its investigation that there is actually no definition of ‘health drink’ in the law.

This investigation of NCPCR has been mentioned in the government notice. The investigation report said that both FSSAI (food safety monitoring body) and Bournvita manufacturing company Mondelez India did not have any definition of health drink under the law. For this reason, the government has now instructed online platforms not to show beverages like Bournvita in the health drink category.

Understanding Health Drinks:


In India, beverages made from malt are generally called health drinks. These beverages enhance the taste of milk. These are often presented as nutritious and energy-giving drinks. Besides, companies also keep adding different types of flavors and tastes in these products, which further increases their popularity.

Market Dynamics:

The market for malt-based beverages in India is quite large, which reflects the popularity of these products among consumers. Companies take advantage of the growing demand for health-conscious beverages by offering a variety of flavors and formulations to meet different preferences.

Definition puzzle:

The lack of a standardized definition of ‘health drink’ has created confusion regarding the classification of Bournvita. Both the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Mondelez India, the company behind Bournvita, do not have a clear definition of what constitutes a health drink under the law.

Bournvita controversy revealed:

Bournvita controversy exposed

The controversy surrounding Bournvita escalated when a social media influencer highlighted the high sugar content in the product and challenged its status as a health drink. The revelation gained popularity on social media platforms, sparking investigations from regulatory bodies and consumer advocacy groups.

Corporate Response:

In response to the growing pressure, Mondelez India made significant changes to the formulation of Bourn vita, reducing the sugar content by 14.4 percent. The move was hailed as a victory by advocates of transparency and consumer awareness, signaling a shift toward greater accountability in the food industry.

A report shows that the market for malt based drinks is very big in India. In the year 2009, it was around Rs 2000 crore and it is believed that it will increase further in the future. According to an estimate, India is the largest malt based drinks market in the world. India accounts for 22 percent of the total sales of such drinks worldwide.

historical context:

Bournvita controversy exposed

The name of the parent company manufacturing Bourn-vita is Mondelez. The history of this company is about 200 years old. In the year 1824, John Cadbury opened the first outlet in England under his own name ‘Cadbury’. The company’s fortunes started changing after it launched dairy milk chocolate in the market in 1905. Gradually it became a brand. Then in the year 1920, the company launched Bournvita and introduced it as the world’s first health drink.

Cadbury entered India in 1948, a year after the British left India and soon thereafter Bournvita became a brand in India. Actually, the identity of Bournvita is linked to a village in Britain. Bourn-vita’s first factory was opened in Bournville Lane, Birmingham. Bournvita was named after this village.


The Bournvita controversy is a reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability in the food industry. As consumers are becoming health conscious, the demand for clear and accurate information about the nutritional content of products is increasing. By addressing issues raised by regulatory bodies and consumer advocates, companies can build trust and ensure the integrity of their brands in the eyes of consumers.

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