ISLAMABAD: Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has initiated action against fifteen beverage manufacturers for disseminating, prima facie, false and misleading information through their product packaging.

The initial scrutiny revealed that these manufacturers prominently display images of multiple fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants on their packaging, creating the impression that the products are purely extracted from the pictured ingredients or contain their pulps, pastes or natural flavours.

The Commission noticed with great concern the differences between the packaging of same product sold in Pakistan and exported for sale in the international markets. Similarly, variations are observed in the pictured ingredients and description of ingredients on the same label. Notably, two well-known manufacturers have omitted similar fruit graphics on products intended for international markets, indicating a deliberate attempt to mislead Pakistani consumers.

Such misrepresentations mislead consumers about the true nature and nutritional value of the products, especially when these claims are not substantiated. The use of unfounded ingredients’ pictures on the product packaging falls under the domain of deceptive marketing practices in the light of Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010.

Competition Commission of Pakistan accordingly requires the manufacturers to have uniformity in the packaging of their products for local as well as international markets with minor variations to meet the specific labelling requirements of the foreign jurisdictions in order to maintain consistency and avoid double standards. It is imperative that any imagery or descriptions used on product packaging accurately reflect the product’s true content.

The Commission urges the consumers to exercise due care and caution and not to casually rely on appealing visuals, such as pictures of fruits, when purchasing their beverages. They are further encouraged to report any instances of false and/or misleading information on packaging to the Commission.

The CCP remains committed to promoting fair competition and protecting consumers from anti-competitive practices.