CCP issues show-cause to Al-Hilal Industries

ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued a show-cause notice to Al-Hilal Industries (Pvt) Limited for prima facie violation of section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010 pertaining to deceptive marketing practices.This show cause notice issued by the Commission’s Director General Legal and Registrar Ikram-ul-Haq Qureshi, in the aftermath of the CCP taking notice of the marketing campaign of Fresher Juice, available in Mango, Guava, Apple, Falsa, Peach and Strawberry flavours, wherein fresher juice had been marketed as being “100 percent pure juice” suggesting that it contains absolutely no additives.

The packaging of the product also bears the claim “100 percent pure juice” in bold in the front while a perusal of the back of the bottle indicates in fine print that it contains additives in the form of sucrose and acidulent. Sucrose is a scientific name for sugar and acidulent assists in the setting of gels and acts as a preservative contradicting the claim that Fresher Juice is “100 percent pure.”

In accordance with principles of fair competition, when an undertaking makes an absolute claim of the type 100 percent pure they must have evidence in the form of experiments and studies to support that claim. Al-Hilal Industries was requested to provide evidence in the form of supporting documents to substantiate their claim of 100 percent pure, and the evidence in support of the claim has not been provided despite ample opportunity to do so. Al-Hilal Industries has been issued the show cause notice for distributing false and or misleading information lacking reasonable basis as to the characteristics and properties of the product.

In its show cause notice the CCP has stated that Al-Hilal Industries was misleading end consumers in terms of clause (b) sub-section (2) of section 10 of the Act. The company has been asked to submit their written arguments within fourteen days and to appear before the Bench on October 7, 2011. It is the responsibility and obligation of the CCP under the Act to ensure free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity and to protect consumers from anti-competitive behaviour and deceptive marketing practices. – Dailytimes