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A consumer has filed a lawsuit alleging that Star Snacks Co.'s Imperial Nuts Energy Blend "is deceptively marketed as containing mostly almonds, pecans and walnuts when in actuality is composed of more peanuts than all the other contents combined." Andrews v. Star Snacks Co., No. 20-1357 (N.D. Ala., filed September 11, 2020). The plaintiff alleges she relied on the front-of-packaging displays, which list the contents as "Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, Honey Roasted Peanuts, Honey Roasted Sesame Sticks" and show "the more desirable nuts (almonds, pecans and walnuts) arranged more prominently on the package to create a misleading impression of the package contents." The plaintiff alleges breach of contract, breach of warranty and violations of Alabama's Food and Drug Law.

Hornell Brewing Co. Inc. and its subsidiary Arizona Beverage Co. allegedly misrepresent their fruit snacks product as all natural despite containing citric acid, gelatin, ascorbic acid, dextrose, glucose syrup and modified food starch, a consumer alleges. Silva v. Hornell Brewing Co. Inc., No. 20-0756 (E.D.N.Y., filed February 11, 2020). The plaintiff argues that these ingredients are synthetic and cites a 2013 U.S. Department of Agriculture draft guidance decision delineating what materials are natural or synthetic. "Congress has defined 'synthetic' to mean 'a substance that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring plants, animals, or mineral sources," the complaint argues. Further, "[s]urveys and other market research, including expert testimony Plaintiff intends to introduce, will demonstrate that the term 'natural' is misleading to a reasonable consumer because the reasonable consumer believes that the term “natural,” when used to…

A consumer has alleged that Snack Innovations Inc.'s Drizzilicious rice cakes are advertised as containing white chocolate but only contain "imitation flavoring." Morrison v. Snack Innovations Inc., No. 19-1238 (S.D.N.Y., filed February 8, 2019). The complaint asserts that "white chocolate," by U.S. regulations, contains cocoa butter, dairy ingredients and sweetener, including 20 percent cocoa butter and 3.5 percent milk fat by weight. "The imitation white chocolate in the Products do not have cocoa butter or milk fat as required, and instead have other cheap confectionary ingredients to imitate the taste of white chocolate." The plaintiff alleges fraud and violations of New York consumer-protection statutes and seeks class certification, damages, corrective advertising and attorney's fees.

The Federal Circuit has affirmed a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) decision refusing to grant a trademark to Real Foods Pty Ltd. for “Corn Thins” and “Rice Thins,” finding the terms to be “merely descriptive.” Real Foods Pty Ltd. v. Frito-Lay N. Am. Inc., Nos. 17-1959, 17-2009 (Fed. Cir., entered October 4, 2018). Frito-Lay North America opposed Real Foods’ trademark application, but Real Foods argued both that the terms were not descriptive and that even if they were descriptive, they had acquired distinctiveness. The Federal Circuit found significant evidence to support TTAB’s conclusion that the terms are descriptive, noting that the first part of the terms is the primary ingredient and the second is the shape. “The composite marks are ‘merely descriptive’ because they ‘immediately convey[] knowledge of a quality or characteristic of the product[s],’ specifically the products’ main ingredients and thickness,” the court held. The court also found…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Kind LLC misleadingly markets its products as made from whole fresh fruits. Song v. Kind LLC, No. 18-4982 (E.D.N.Y., filed September 4, 2018). The complaint asserts that the product names and descriptions "use collective names to refer to their components” because they are allegedly made from processed fruit, “by-products or processed derivative ingredients.” The plaintiff also argues that the visual representations on the packaging “emphasize their equivalence to whole fruits.” The complaint further asserts that tropical fruits used in the products are dried using osmotic dehydration, which purportedly treats the fruits with added sugars. In addition, the plaintiff alleges that Kind uses ascorbic acid as a preservative but does not list it among the ingredients. Claiming violations of New York’s General Business Law, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has declined to uphold a complaint arguing that Walkers Snacks targeted children under 16 with a product high in fat, salt or sugar by showing an advertisement for Doritos before YouTube videos. The complaint asserted that the “media or context” of the ad targeted children under 16, but ASA found that Walkers had taken “a range of steps to ensure that the ad was not targeted to children under the age of 16, using both age restrictions and interest based factors.” Walkers applied YouTube age-targeting restrictions by not approving the ad for families and instructing YouTube to show the ad to users logged into accounts with a self-reported age of 18 or older. “We understood from the complainant that the ad had been seen by an 8-year-old child who was not signed into YouTube, using a device used by both adults and children,” ASA…

Two consumers have filed a putative class action alleging Clif Bar & Co. misleads consumers because its bars do not contain “real white chocolate.” Joslin v. Clif Bar & Co., No. 18-4941 (N.D. Cal., San Francisco Div., filed August 14, 2018). According to the complaint, “U.S., Canadian, and European regulators all define white chocolate as having at least 3.5% milkfat” while Clif’s White Chocolate Macadamia Nut bars do not contain any milkfat. The plaintiffs assert that they relied upon the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “rules concerning white chocolate” when purchasing the bars but allegedly learned after purchasing that the bars are “misbranded” because the labels do not clarify that the white chocolate is “imitation.” The plaintiffs seek class certification, damages, restitution, an injunction and attorney’s fees for alleged violations of California and New York consumer-protection laws as well as fraud.

Pepperidge Farms Inc. faces a lawsuit alleging that a woman became ill with Salmonella gastroenteritis after eating the company’s Goldfish crackers, which purportedly contained contaminated dry whey powder. Finch v. Pepperidge Farms, Inc., No. 18-152 (N.D. Miss., filed August 8, 2018). The plaintiff alleges that she bought and ate the Goldfish on July 19, 2018, became ill that evening, and tested positive for Salmonella one week later. Pepperidge Farm issued a recall of four varieties of Goldfish after its supplier notified it of potential contamination. Claiming manufacturing-defect strict liability, failure-to-warn strict liability, negligence per se, negligence and breach of warranties, the plaintiff seeks damages and attorney’s fees.

Diamond Foods LLC faces a putative class action alleging Kettle Foods potato chips are marketed as “Made with Natural Ingredients” and “No Preservatives” but contain citric acid. Mason v. Diamond Foods LLC, No. 18-6423 (S.D.N.Y., filed July 16, 2018). The complaint identifies several flavors of chips that allegedly contain the “synthetic compound,” purportedly produced from mold strains and sulfuric acid. Claiming violations of several states' consumer-protection statutes, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, breach of warranties and common law fraud, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.

Utz Quality Foods LLC and Good Health Natural Products Inc. face a potential class action alleging that the companies replaced a blend of vegetable-derived ingredients with synthetic additives in their Extra Goodness! products, including vegetable straws and chips. Feldman v. Utz Quality Foods, LLC, No. 18-6004 (S.D.N.Y., filed July 3, 2018). The complaint alleges that the companies deceptively marketed and misbranded the snacks, which were previously made with a proprietary blend of spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets and shiitake mushrooms. The plaintiff contends that Utz and Good Health stopped buying the blend in December 2016 and replaced it with a "cheaper synthetic blend" but did not update the ingredient list for more than a year. Moreover, the plaintiff contends that the current product does not contain "significant amounts of the vegetables or vegetable-derived vitamins depicted, and are not healthful." Claiming deceptive acts or practices, false advertising, breach of warranties and unjust enrichment,…

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