From deinfluencing to influencing: Revant Himatsingka waging battle against FMCG products

Himatsingka, aka, FoodPharmer, has become a leading deinfluencer in the food industry, wielding humour and sharp analysis to expose the not-so-healthy truths lurking behind popular packaged foods

BuzzInContent Bureau
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Revant Himatsingk

Delhi: #Deinfluencing is getting bigger than just a social media phenomenon. Such an act of deinfluencing has now allowed people like Revant Himatsingka, aka 'FoodPharmer', to climb the ropes of becoming an influencer. 

Himatsingka, better known online as "FoodPharmer," isn't your typical farmer. He tills no soil but cultivates a different kind of harvest: awareness. Through his social media platform with over 3 million followers, FoodPharmer, Revant has become a leading deinfluencer in the food industry, wielding humour and sharp analysis to expose the not-so-healthy truths lurking behind popular packaged foods.

He gained national popularity after its quest against Bournvita and getting it de-listed as a health drink. After one of his videos went viral about the palm oil content in chips, Lay’s announced that it would cut palm oil in its products! 

Most recently, he has taken a significant step in the battle against adulteration in packaged foods with the launch of his latest initiative, "Label Padhega India”

Supporting FoodPharmer in his mission, there are influential personalities, including Dinesh Karthik, Abhinav Bindra, Flying Beast, Archana Puran Singh, Terence Lewis, Ankita Bainyanpuria, Ankur Warikoo, Tech Burner, Thugesh, Saurav Joshi, Abhi and Niyu, Luke Coutinho, and many more.

A mission of literacy and awareness

The rat race that we often talk about does not belong solely to the hustle culture. It continues its trail along the lines of promoting unhealthy habits and a distorted life of fakeness. Like many, Revant took note of this. But unlike the many others, Revant acted upon it too. One whose journey began far from the aisles of grocery stores and held a high-profile finance job suddenly gained prominence much after his book, Selfienomics (at the age of 22). It was a personal quest for health that led him down a rabbit hole of food science and marketing. Raised in Kolkata, he was once a "skinny kid who got bullied," subsisting on the same junk food he critiques today. His love affair with packaged food started early, but the health reckoning came later when he pursued higher education in the US. Here, he encountered the stark contrast between marketing claims and nutritional reality. This realisation deepened during his tenure at McKinsey, where many clients were the very companies he scrutinises today.

A meteoric rise with ‘The Bournvita Episode’

Armed with knowledge and a knack for clear, witty communication, Revant launched @FoodPharmer across social media. His platform uses social media to decode food labels, expose hidden sugars, and debunk marketing tactics that mislead consumers. From "healthy" breakfast cereals loaded with sugar to hidden additives in seemingly innocuous products, Revant shines a light on the not-so-pretty underbelly of processed food. The “FoodPharmer” hit a tipping point on April 1, 2023, with a viral video exposing the sugar content in Bournvita. What started with 1,000 followers on Instagram quickly snowballed after receiving a legal notice from Mondelez. Despite taking down the video, its circulation on WhatsApp and coverage by major news outlets catapulted him to over 100,000 followers within days.

A relentless battle

Deinfluencing might stand out as a trend among the apparent internet users but is instead a struggle against the majority. It actually urges users to raise voice against the constant desire for materialistic living, even after knowing the gross impact of the same. Deinfluencing therefore, involves rejecting this culture, majorly impacting the influencer market through honest opinions and facts. It engages the ideal internet user to negotiate and seek better services and commodities while analysing the pros and cons. It seeks more information on every other option available for use, in the market, and persuades followers to question the relevance as well as reliability of what their influencers are promoting.

A greater example of impactful deinfluencing is Revant’s crusade against misleading food marketing, wherein, he was slumped by significant pressure and frequent legal threats from FMCG giants. His scrutiny led companies like Nestlé to announce recipe changes, reducing the sugar content of products like Maggi ketchup. The mission is quite simple: to empower consumers through knowledge. In a world saturated with marketing messages, the act of deinfluencing the impact driven by FMCG brands is an important step. 

The breaking of the barrier of faulty information and lies between influencers and their followers is being broken by the act of deinfluencing. Steadily, it has started to register growth in the number of influencers who are coming up with deinfluencing as their motto without necessarily bringing down other influencers but big brands instead. There’s a lot more expected to be put up for show given the dynamic nature of the influencer market and trends on the rise.

As consumers become increasingly disillusioned with traditional influencer marketing tactics, the demand for authentic and relatable content is on the rise. Deinfluencing represents a paradigm shift in the way we perceive influence and authenticity in the digital age. It challenges the notion that popularity equates with influence and celebrates the power of individuality, vulnerability, and genuine connection.