Thursday, February 7, 2013

Complan, Horlics, Boost.... Are They Really Health drinks???


We see a whole lot of marketing activity for health drinks targeting children. They are too convincing. To a extend that we will be pushed to take sides. There are parents who do not loose out betting on a loosing horse, they go for one health drink for morning and another for the evening (That is wise). And it looks like it is a obvious decision to try out these health drinks which will make the kids taller, or stronger or sharper. Who would say 'No' when a drink can do this.

But when did all this become a necessity? Suddenly did the kids stop growing taller or were becoming dull, that these health drinks came to rescue the mankind. During the days before these health drinks came in, did we not have taller kids.

This is almost a no loss market.

These is the way I think the market is split:

1. A kid does not have any special health drink. Eats and lives a healthy life. There is no blame or praise on these health drinks. The kid will have a natural growth that a human kid should have.
2. Start giving a kid with health drink A. It is obvious that the kid will grow when it is the age they grow. Now the parent gains more confidence and star to endorse this product to other parents. They continue to use it and others might start to use it as they thing it is producing results.
3. Kid starts with health drink A. Parent feels that the growth is not up to expectation. They either start giving more or switch over to health drink B.

For any of these cases, the kid will surely grow if the kid is suppose to grow naturally. If this is false, then the kids should not grow as much if they are not taking any special health drink.

Another very important point to be noted. There is always a disclaimer on all these ads. And the disclaimer are meant for legal purpose and not with the intention to declare it to the audience.



Kids are not guinea pigs, where you test them in a controlled environment or from a hand picked numbers and generalize it to millions. Can any of these companies reveal how the testing was done through which they derive at these super human conclusions. What is the base line they are using for these results.

There are also cases against few of these ads. But I am not sure what action is taken.


These are totally unethical practices, driving a fear factor and pushing a product.

One more very interesting product where false or hyped marketing is used. It is the Foodles from Horlics. It is advertised a 4 grain noodles. Wow, it is natural, whole grain, highly nutritious.

If you go in to the detail, you will see how much of these four grains are used per serving.

Here is the ingredient for the noodles that is branded as Foodles,

Noodles : Wheat 75%, Rice 1.2%, Corn 1.2%, Ragi 1.2%, Edible vegetable oil, minerals and salt.


As you can see Rice, Corn and Ragi constitute for 1.2% each in the 80 gram pack. So 0.96 gram is each of these grains are used. Do we really need to go for the brand that says it is 4 grain, to get less than 1 gram of rice, corn and ragi. May be they are 75% true. Coz it will equal to a grain if rice, ragi and corn to make up the 1 gram, so they are in deed using 3 grains in total. I think they are telling the truth, we are taking is wrong.

Consumers are left in the dark by clever marketing. We cannot blame the advertisements unless we want to check what it is that we are buying.

Update on 20/May/2015:

News report says Maggie contains dangerous level of Lead (pb) and above the permissible level of MSG. Uttar Pradesh government has ordered to recall all March/2015 batch of Maggie noodles from the state. Obviously it is too late. People have already consumed it or is already sold and is waiting to poison the next kid.


Note: I do eat this junk, and I do like it. But I know what I am paying for is junk, and not for the F.O.U.R grains in it.

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