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Misleading info shared about Shan ‘Punjabi Biryani’ masala

Company’s corporate department confirms product was launched years ago

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Claim: Pakistani mixed spices company Shan Foods Limited has launched a recipe masala packet called ‘Punjabi Biryani’ and claimed it is “World Famous in Punjab.”

Fact: Shan Foods Limited has been manufacturing ‘Punjabi Biryani’ recipe masala packets for a few years now. A senior official at the company says the product is not recent; the ‘New Variant’ marker on the packaging is how it was marketed at its launch.

On 4 October 2022, the Facebook page ‘Startup Pakistan Recorder’ shared a news visual — showing a packet of “‘World Famous in Punjab’ Punjabi Biryani” — with the following claim, “After Sindhi Biryani Masala Here Comes the Shan ‘World Famous in Punjab’ Punjabi Biryani.”

Some social media users also linked the report in question to a comment by English cricketer Moeen Ali, whose team recently toured Pakistan.

Ali had said he was “disappointed” by the food in Lahore as opposed to that in Karachi.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check spoke to a Shan Foods representative who confirmed that the company has been producing the ‘Punjabi Biryani’ masala for five years.

“The product was launched like five years ago. It was with a campaign that we released — that’s where the ‘World Famous Punjabi Biryani’ comes from,” the representative said.

“It’s not on our website because even multiple products are also not available on our website […] It’s still available in the market but in small quantities because it’s […] not a huge SKU [stock keeping unit], but people demand it,” the representative added.

Numerous stores — including Carrefour, Springs, Al-Fatah, Masco, Grocer App, and Hamza Mart — have ‘Punjabi Biryani’ available to buy on their websites.

The claim that Shan Foods Limited has recently launched the ‘Punjabi Biryani’ masala, therefore, is misleading.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 30-day period from 14 September 2022 to 14 October using the following search terms:

  • “Punjabi Biryani”
  • “Shan Punjabi Biryani”
  • “پنجابی بریانی”

The first search term turned up 1,455 posts on Facebook that gained 55,268 interactions, as well as 81 posts on Instagram with 35,173 interactions. The second search term showed 3,564 interactions and 254 interactions across 13 Facebook posts and one Instagram post, respectively.

The Urdu search term, on the other hand, turned up 56 posts on Facebook with 2,964 interactions; there were no relevant posts on Instagram.

The image has also appeared on Twitter here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, as well as here and here on Instagram. Interestingly, it also made the rounds on social media in 2019 here and here and 2020 here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: Shan Foods Limited has been manufacturing ‘Punjabi Biryani’ recipe masala packets for a few years. A senior official at the company says the product is not recent; the ‘New Variant’ marker on the packaging is how it was marketed at its launch.

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