Are Frozen Desserts Different From Ice-Creams? FSSAI To Decide
Companies selling frozen desserts made with vegetable fat face misinformation in India
Is your ice-cream actually ice-cream or not?
Ice-cream manufacturers Amul, Hindustan Unilever Limited's Kwality Wall's and Vadilal have been at loggerheads regarding the nomenclature of this delicacy. While Amul uses milk fat with milk protein, Kwality and Vadilal use vegetable fat with the same. The milk fat products are identified as ice-creams while the vegetable fat products are identified as frozen desserts.
The Food Security and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued the formation of a working committee to look into the definition of what constitutes an ice-cream to bring an end to this long ensuing debate among the companies. The ice-cream manufacturers using vegetable oil are requesting the FSSAI to rename the frozen dessert as ice-cream.
Frozen desert manufacturers have also argued that the lack of clarity on the nomenclature have made them a target of misinformation on social media.
Q. What is the fake news/misinformation surrounding frozen desserts and ice-creams?
A text message going viral on WhatsApp groups claims the following, "Amul had won a lawsuit against Kwality Walls and other ice-cream makers who could not sell their products as ice-cream anymore. They have to be sold under a new marketing name called frozen desserts. If you check labels of items sold as frozen desserts, it does say hydrogenated vegetable oil which is dalda! So if its frozen dessert, its definately dalda. You can check the packs. All of our children love to eat it, so be aware that AMUL is the only ice cream manufacturer who makes ice-cream from milk not vegetable fats."
This message has been in circulation for quite a few years and compares the vegetable oils that Kwality Walls uses to dalda which is hydrogenated oil and contains trans-fats.
Q. How is Kwality Wall's countering viral social media messages against its brand?
BOOM contacted Hindustan Unilever, the manufacturer of Kwality Wall's to understand the basis of the origin of the lawsuit as well as the difference between the vegetable oil that they use and hydrogenated oil mentioned in the WhatsApp message.
In an email reply to BOOM, the company describing the turn of events, wrote,
"The message often circulates on WhatsApp during the summer and festive seasons, when the sales of ice-cream and frozen desserts go up, spreading misinformation amongst customers. The message refers to a seven-year-old news article about an isolated instance in which the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) had advised revision of an advertorial about Kwality Wall's frozen dessert for referring to the product line as ice-cream. HUL took immediate action and the advertisement was withdrawn.
However, referring to this news article, the content of the WhatsApp message creates an impression that it's a recent development and spreads misinformation about frozen desserts to create confusion in the minds of consumers. Kwality Wall's strictly follows the labelling and packaging regulations – prominently displaying Frozen Dessert on the packages of products in this category.
ASCI is an industry self-regulatory body; a directive by the Council can hence not be considered equivalent to a ruling by a court in India. A mention to the court case in this message is therefore inaccurate."
BOOM contacted Amul but has not received any response from them. This story will be updated as and when Amul responds. Amul approached the ASCI and did not file a law suit.
BOOM further contacted ASCI which declined to comment since the matter was sub-judice.
Q. Where does the frozen dessert and ice-cream war stand currently?
In 2017, Hindustan Unilever and Vadilal won a law suit against Amul in the Bombay High Court. Amul had suggested that other brands of ice-creams in the market use Vanaspati, through an advertisement. HUL alleges that this is where the fake news originates. The two companies jointly approached the Bombay High Court which first asked Amul to completely stop the telecast of the advertisement but later asked them to run it after removing the word 'vanaspati'.
Q. Is Kwality Walls made with Dalda?
HUL's statement further states that Kwality Wall's frozen desserts contain vegetable oil which has lower saturated fat and no trans-fat as compared to hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Dalda is a type of trans-fats which is not found in Kwality Wall's ice-creams.
Trans-fat are essentially liquids which are solidified by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil to achieve a specific consistency or increase the food's shelf life.
Q. What is the difference between vegetable fat and milk fat?
The Indian Ice-Cream Manufacturers Association (IICMA) and HUL both claim that vegetable fats have lower saturated fat than ice-creams.
"Ice cream and frozen desserts, both are made of primary ingredients such as milk or milk solids, sugar, ice crystals and air- The main difference between frozen dessert and ice cream is that frozen desserts use vegetable oil in place of milk fat. Both ice cream and frozen desserts are manufactured in a similar manner. Kwality Wall's primarily uses Vegetable oil as the source of fat in its frozen dessert range to deliver products with better nutrition profile and great taste to consumers. In fact, owing to the use of vegetable oil, Kwality Wall's Frozen Dessert range typically has much lower saturated fat and is virtually trans-fat free, as compared to Ice Creams.", said Richa Mattu, Nutrition and Health Leader, Foods, Unilever, South Asia.
HUL even provided the website details which has a detailed comparison of the processes and ingredients in ice creams and frozen desserts.
Both milk fat and vegetable fat have saturated fats. Saturated fats are seen in animal products. The lower their intake, the better it is for the body's cholesterol.
Q. Why does the IICMA want the FSSAI to intervene?
The IICMA which represents ice-cream manufacturers has insisted that the FSSAI should reconsider the nomenclature rules applied for ice-cream labels. Currently, products using dairy fat are called ice-cream, while products using vegetable fat are called frozen desserts under the FSSAI regulations.
The Association further suggests that globally, dairy fat ice-creams are recognised as dairy ice-creams and the products using vegetable fats are called ice-creams. They also insist that it is only ice-creams for which that the FSSAI considers the fats used in manufacturing. Other products like biscuits, breads, cakes, are not classified on the basis of their fats.
Q. What does the FSSAI have to say regarding the change in the nomenclature?
BOOM contacted the FSSAI which stated that currently no decision has been taken in this regard.
FSSAI stated that every country follows their own set of rules while deciding on the nomenclature. They quoted the Codex Alimentarius, a collection of standard food guidelines, by the Food and Agriculture Organization, has standards for milk and milk products but does not consider ice-cream as a dairy product.
The source confirmed that the committee would want to review more information before reaching any amicable decision on the nomenclature of the products. The working committee constituted by the FSSAI which met on November 28th, has asked for more time to come to a conclusion.
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