Former VC wins suit against NB over wrongful use of “low sugar” claim

A High Court in Benin City, Edo State on Wednesday, instructed the Nigerian Breweries Plc (“NB”) to tender an unreserved apology to one of its customers, Prof. Ernest Izevbigie, for wrongful inscription of “low sugar” on its product.

Mr Izevbigie, a professor of Biochemistry at the Benson Idahosa University (BIU), had alleged that the company inscribed misleading information, “low sugar” on the can of one of its non-alcoholic beverages, Amstel Malta.

He alleged in his suit that laboratory test result revealed that the product contained more sugar than the company claimed in the inscription on the brand.

Izevbigie urged the court to order the company to tender a written apology to him as he had been injured by the deception.

He also asked the court to pronounce that the inscription on the product was misleading to the public.

In her judgment, Justice Esohe Ikponmwen, the chief Judge of the State, ordered Nigerian Breweries to tender an unreserved apology to members of the public who might have been lured by the “trade trick” of low sugar on the can.

She, however, held that evidence before the court showed that the sugar content of Amstel Malta was between approved 10% and 15% of sugar by the regulatory body.

She said NB should have indicated that the sugar content contained in the product was lower than other non-alcoholic beverage drinks rather than the “low sugar” inscription.

Ikponmwen held that while she might not grant the request suggesting that the information was deceitful, she held that it was a trade trick competition taken too far by the firm.

She held that the claimant’s request urging the court to hold that Amstel Malta was a normal non-alcoholic drink and not “low sugar” succeeded.

“The defendant is ordered to apologise to the claimant and other public consumers in Nigeria for making them to erroneously believe that Amstel Malta is low in sugar within 30 days from the date of this judgment,” she held.


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