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'Health', 'Energy' Drink Labels Face FSSAI Scrutiny

FSSAI Directive on Beverage Labelling

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has directed all e-commerce firms to avoid labelling dairy-based, cereal-based, or malt-based beverages as ‘health drinks’ or ‘energy drinks’. This decision stems from the absence of a clear definition for “health drink” under the country’s food regulations, alongside the explicit classification of “energetic drink” as relating to carbonated and non-carbonated water-based flavoured beverages.

Lack of Clear Definitions

The FSSAI has highlighted the ambiguity surrounding terms like “health drink” and “energy drink” within India’s food regulations. This lack of clear definitions can lead to confusion among consumers and misrepresentation by food businesses.

Implications of Improper Labelling

Using inaccurate terms in labelling can result in consumer confusion and misrepresentation of products. This could potentially lead to consumers making uninformed decisions about their purchases, unaware of the true nature and intended benefits of the beverages they are consuming.

FSSAI's Remedial Action

In response to the lack of clarity in beverage labelling, the FSSAI has advised all e-commerce Food Business Operators (FBOs) to rectify the situation. They are instructed to either remove or delink dairy-based, cereal-based, or malt-based beverages from the categories of ‘Health Drinks / Energy Drinks’ to ensure accurate representation.

Importance of Clarity in Labelling

The FSSAI emphasizes the importance of clear and accurate labelling to ensure that consumers are well-informed and able to make informed decisions about the products they purchase. Clarity in labelling helps prevent confusion and ensures transparency in the marketplace.

Market Trends in Energy Drinks

Energy drink sales are experiencing significant growth, with a yearly pace of 50-55%, according to NielsenIQ. This surge in sales indicates increased consumption, particularly among young consumers. Major companies like PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Hell are offering energy drinks at competitive prices, making them more accessible through various retail channels.

Concerns and Health Risks

There are growing concerns about the potential health risks associated with increased energy drink consumption, especially among young people. Research suggests that excessive consumption of energy drinks may pose various health risks, prompting calls for greater regulation and consumer awareness.

Source: Inputs from various media Sources

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Priya Bairagi

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