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With olive oil prices soaring due to shortage in the producing countries Italy and Spain and a free-falling rupee, cooking oil marketers such as Adani Wilmar are pitching rice bran oil as a healthy and cheaper alternative.
For starters, Adani Wilmar, which launched rice bran oil under its Fortune brand early this year, has started a campaign that says its product is better than olive oil.
The olive oil industry plans to take this to the Advertising Standards Council of India and launch a counter campaign on the virtues of olive oil.
"The claims of Fortune on how rice bran is better than olive oil are deliberately designed to mislead the consumers," said VN Dalmia, president of Indian Olive Association, which represents top olive oil brands such as Leonardo, Borges and Del Monte. Despite repeated attempts, Adani Wilmar COO Angshu Mallick could not be reached for his comments.
A couple of months ago, Marico Ltd had moved the court against Adani Wilmar alleging disparagement of its Saffola brand in Fortune's advertisements. AP Solvex, the country's largest rice bran oil refiner and maker of Ricela brand, too plans an offensive against olive oil, which has grown more than 60% a year over the past five years on health ground.