A California federal court has dismissed without prejudice a lawsuit alleging Kellogg Sales Co. misleads consumers as to the characterizing flavor of its Bear Naked V’Nilla Almond granola, finding that the plaintiff could not support his allegation that the product does not contain sufficient amounts of vanilla. Zaback v. Kellogg Sales Co., No. 20-0268 (S.D. Cal., entered October 29, 2020). The plaintiff alleged that the image of vanilla beans on the granola packaging misleadingly implied that “real vanilla derived exclusively from vanilla beans” was the only characterizing flavor. The court had previously dismissed the “allegation that merely because vanilla is expensive Kellogg would have included vanilla on the Product’s ingredient list” and instead assessed the plaintiff’s argument that Kellogg “admitted” the product did not contain sufficient vanilla to flavor the granola. “The ‘admission’ boils down to this: Kellogg’s use of ‘Natural Flavors’ on the Product’s ingredient list means the product does not have sufficient vanilla to independently characterize the food. This ‘admission’ is still not sufficient to ‘nudge [his] claims . . . across the line from conceivable to plausible.'” The court found that the plaintiff had not successfully alleged that the granola did not contain sufficient vanilla and dismissed the claim.

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