A plaintiff has alleged that Danone North America misleads consumers by labeling its Dannon and Oikos yogurts as featuring “vanilla with other natural flavors” because the products contain “less vanilla flavor derived from vanilla beans than their name suggests.” Andriulli v. Danone N. Am., No. 19-5165 (S.D.N.Y., filed June 2, 2019). The plaintiff asserts that the product flavor “should be labeled ‘Vanilla-Vanillin Extract/Flavoring/Powder, Imitation’ so consumers are not misled as to the flavor of the Products.”

Further, the complaint states, Oikos vanilla-flavored yogurt includes beta carotene, which “has the effect of modifying the color of the product closer to the color consumers associate with a product flavored exclusively by vanilla bean components — a tanner, darker shade like in the following stock image.” The complaint then features a light orange square. “This coloring makes the consumer less likely to question or probe into the amount and type of vanilla flavor in the Products,” the plaintiff argues. For allegations of fraud, unjust enrichment and violations of California’s consumer-protection laws, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, restitution, damages and attorney’s fees.

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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.