Tag Archives sugar

A California appeals court has determined that the "no sugar added" phrasing on Califia Farms' Cuties tangerine juice does not imply to consumers that competitors add sugar to their products. Shaeffer v. Califia Farms LLC, No. B291085 (Cal. App. Ct., entered February 6, 2020). The lower court dismissed the complaint, ruling that the "no sugar added" representation was truthful. The appeals court considered "statements a business affirmatively and truthfully makes about its product and which do not on their face mention or otherwise reference its competing products at all." The court found that a "statement may be 'fraudulent' (and hence actionable) if it is 'deceptive and misleading in its implications,'" but declined to hold as actionable truthful statements about a company's own product when the argument is that a reasonable consumer would "(1) likely to infer from such a statement that the very same statement is untrue as to comparable,…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging Tipp Distributors Inc. mislabels its Steaz iced tea as "lightly sweetened" despite containing "objectively high amounts of sugar, as added sugar." Taylor v. Tipp Distrib. Inc., No. 20-0712 (E.D.N.Y., filed February 9, 2020). Consumers paid a premium for Steaz believing it to contain less sugar than its competitors, the complaint asserts, but it contains 20 grams of added sugar, 40% of the recommended daily intake. "By consuming the Products and the 40% DV of added sugar, the average person who wishes to follow the DGA must consume no more than 30 grams of sugar across 1,920 calories (2,000 calories – 80 calories)," the plaintiff argues. "It will be difficult to impossible for the average, reasonable consumer to not consume more than 30 grams of sugar in everything else they eat or drink because many foods and beverages have added sugars, albeit…

Shook Food, Beverage & Agribusiness Practice Group Co-Chair Lindsey Heinz and Associate Elizabeth Fessler have authored an article for Law360 on a settlement between Kellogg Sales Co. and a plaintiff who alleged that the company's cereals were misleadingly marketed as "healthy." The settlement is "a prime example of the shifted focus toward sugar," they explain, "and the agreement may cause companies to question whether simply following regulations on sugar is worth the risk." Heinz and Fessler track how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated the use of "healthy" to describe foods and provide an overview of the Kellogg case. "Although labeling claims may be consistent with regulations, the industry should be wary of making claims inconsistent with current thoughts on what constitutes a healthy food. While the cereals at issue were in line with the FDA’s definition and guidance on 'healthy' — which does not reference sugar…

The University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity has released a report on the state of nutrition and marketing for beverages targeted to children. The researchers identified "common practices that may confuse parents about the ingredients and healthfulness of sweetened children's drinks," including the "widespread use of low-calorie sweeteners," the "sugar content and calories" and the serving sizes of "100% juice products" that "contained more than the recommended maximum daily amount of juice for toddlers." The report recommends that "manufacturers should develop and market unsweetened plain waters for children," that media companies with children's programming "should implement nutrition standards that comply with expert recommendations that can be advertised to children in their media" and that retailers should "clearly label children's drinks that contain added sweeteners."

A U.K. modeling study has apparently found that a 20% tax on foods with high levels of sugar could reduce rates of obesity more than taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Scheelbeek et al., "Potential impact on prevalence of obesity in the UK of a 20% price increase in high sugar snacks: modelling study," BMJ, September 4, 2019. The study model predicted the effects of a 20% price increase on "three categories of high sugar snacks: confectionery (including chocolate), [cookies], and cakes." The model reportedly showed that the price increase would cause average Body Mass Index numbers for U.K. residents to decrease by 0.53. "This change could reduce the UK prevalence of obesity by 2.7 percentage points," the researchers assert.

A California federal court has denied Clif Bar & Co.'s motion to dismiss a putative class action alleging that its Clif bars contain high levels of sugar but are misleadingly marketed as healthful. Milan v. Clif Bar & Co., No. 18-2354 (N.D. Cal., entered August 20, 2019). The court disagreed with Clif's argument that the plaintiff's claims were preempted by federal laws on the display of nutritional information on food packaging, finding the provisions "of no moment here because plaintiffs are not challenging the nutrition information on the Clif bars' label." Further, the court declined to consider whether a "reasonable consumer would know that the challenged products contained added sugars" given the flavor names—including Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Brownie and Iced Oatmeal Cookie—because "the motion to dismiss stage is not the place to decide these questions of fact." "Clif is alleged to have marketed its bars using words and imagery designed…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Post Consumer Brands' Honey Bunches of Oats is misleadingly named because the cereals are sweetened primarily by "sugar, corn syrup, and other refined substances, and contain only miniscule amounts of honey." Tucker v. Post Consumer Brands LLC, No. 19-3993 (N.D. Cal., filed July 11, 2019). The complaint details the alleged "negative health effects of consuming excess amounts of sugar" and asserts that "the branding and packaging of the Products convey the clear message that honey is the primary sweetener or—at a minimum—that honey is a significant sweetener compared to sugar and other refined substances that are perceived by consumers to be unhealthy or less healthy. Unfortunately for consumers, this message is simply untrue." The plaintiff includes the ingredient lists for several Honey Bunches of Oats varieties, which show "sugar" as the second or third ingredient along with "brown sugar," "corn…

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a pair of studies purportedly finding that "a high proportion of baby foods are incorrectly marketed as suitable for infants under the age of six months, when in fact much of it contains inappropriately high levels of sugar." Researchers reviewed 7,955 baby-food products in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Israel and reportedly found that more than half of the products available in three of the countries provided more than 30% of their calories from sugars. WHO also noted that between 28% to 60% of products indicated that they were appropriate for infants under six months, which contradicts WHO guidance on exclusively breastfeeding until that age.

The National Advertising Division (NAD) has recommended that Oatly Inc. discontinue marketing representations that its oat milks contain "no added sugars." According to NAD's summary, the challenger argued that "the hydrolysis process, which turns oats into oatmilk, creates sugars 'in situ' as the oats are broken down into smaller components." NAD considered whether the question fell under its jurisdiction, noting that information appearing in the Nutrition Facts Panel would be governed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). "Without taking a position on whether Oatly’s Nutrition Facts Panels are in compliance with FDA regulations, NAD recommended that Oatly not re-post or restate the 'added sugars' line of the Nutrition Facts Panel in its advertising, but noted that nothing in the decision prevents Oatly from using the 'added sugars' line of the Nutrition Facts Panel in a context that is not advertising, such as on product packaging for the purpose…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finalized guidance on labeling for added sugars in single-ingredient packages of "pure honey, pure maple syrup, and other pure sugars and syrups, which are not required to bear the words 'Includes Xg Added Sugars' but must still include the percent Daily Value (DV) for added sugars on their labels." The agency also indicated its intention "to exercise enforcement discretion with respect to the use of truthful and not misleading statements on single-ingredient packages and/or containers."

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