A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging Whole Foods Market Group Inc. sells a boxed rice pilaf in packaging that misleads consumers by being larger than the ingredients inside require. Jacobs v. Whole Foods Mkt. Grp., No. 22-0002 (N.D. Ill., E. Div., filed January 1, 2022). The complaint details Whole Foods’ stated commitment to environmentally friendly practices before arguing that the rice pilaf box contains “over 50%” empty space without legitimate reason.

“Defendant promised customers, through digital, print, audio, television, and in-store placards and signs, that it is replicating its reduction in excess packing materials across all aspects of its operations, to promote environmental welfare,” the plaintiff asserts. “Defendant’s excess packaging violates its pledges and commitments to consumers that it will operate sustainably and promote environmental stewardship.” In addition to allegations of fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff alleges violations of Illinois consumer-protection statutes and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.