ISLAMABAD - The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued show cause notices to six fruit juice manufacturers for misleading consumers and engaging in deceptive marketing practices in prima facie violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010.

The CCP conducted an inquiry after receiving a formal complaint that various fruit juice manufactures are running deceptive marketing campaigns for their products containing claims such as “100 percent pure and natural”, “rich in vitamins” and “no added sugar, colours or preservatives”. The inquiry found that six fruit juice manufacturers including Nestle Pakistan Limited, Shezan International Limited, Citropak Limited, AF International, Sunland Foods and Maaher Food Industries (Pvt) Limited, were making unjustifiable claims about their juice products.

Nestle Pakistan Limited claimed “100 percent orange juice” on the packaging of its product ‘Nestle fruita vitals orange juice’; Shezan International Limited printed “100 percent juice” and “rich in vitamins” on the packaging of its product ‘all pure’; Citropak Limited used a slogan “100 percent pure” on the packaging of its juice brand ‘fruiten’; AF International printed “mango 100 percent” and “pure fruit juice” on the packaging of its fruit juice ‘topix’, Sunland Foods claimed “100 percent pure guava juice”, “100 percent pure mango juice”, “rich in vitamin C” and “natural flavors, no artificial colors,” on the packaging  of its fruit juice ‘fruit farm’ and; Maaher Food Industries labelled “from 100 percent pure fruits” on the packaging of its fruit juice ‘country’.

Printing such claims on the packaging of these products without justification was resulting in the distribution of false and misleading information related to character, properties, suitability for use and quality of products in violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act.

Moreover, such deceptive marketing practices by these fruit juice manufacturers were not only deceiving consumers but could also harm the business interest of competitors.

Show cause notices for prima facie violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act have been served on the companies, on the recommendations of the inquiry report. In view of the importance of fair marketing practices, CCP in one of its recent orders directed that the advertising claims must be based on ‘competent and reliable scientific evidence,’ particularly if the product involves health and safety claims.

The CCP is mandated under the Competition Act to ensure free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity, to enhance economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anti-competitive practices including deceptive marketing practices.