New York (CNN Business) – No one would mistake Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts for a fruit plate – they’re an indulgent treat, loaded with sugar and processed ingredients. But a new lawsuit claims that Pop-Tarts are posing as a health food.
A class action lawsuit, filed by Illinois resident Anita Harris in August, alleges that the brand’s marketing is “misleading because it gives people the impression that the fruit filling contains a relative and absolute greater amount of strawberries than it does. contains “. The lawsuit also focuses on the health benefits that come from strawberries, citing a WebMD description that strawberries “protect your heart, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower blood pressure and protect against cancer.” .
The lawsuit seeks at least $ 5 million. Harris also alleges that the product name, “Frosted Strawberry Toaster Pastries,” is “false, misleading, and misleading” because the Pop-Tart filling contains a “relatively significant amount of non-strawberry fruit ingredients,” including pears and apples The plaintiff said it wanted more than a “strawberry flavor”, which however “could not perceive, due to the relatively larger quantity of pears and apples,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that Kellogg’s “only promotes the product’s strawberry content in its labeling and marketing, such as on its website.”
Kellogg did not respond to CNN Business’ request for comment.
The lawsuit against Kellogg’s
According to the product’s ingredient list, Pop-Tarts contain “2% or less of wheat starch, salt, dried strawberries, dried pears, and dried apples” and 2% or less of other ingredients, including citric acid, gelatin. , modified wheat starch, yellow corn flour, caramel palm oil, xanthan gum, cornstarch, turmeric extract color, soy lecithin, red 40, yellow 6, blue 1 and added color.
Harris’s complaint contrasts unfavorably with the marketing of Kellogg’s Pop-Tart other “frozen strawberry” cereals of this type with those of Walmart’s Great Value brand and Dollar Tree’s Clover Value brand. Both companies, the suit says, use the phrase “naturally and artificially flavored” on the box to warn customers that the product has fewer strawberry ingredients than consumers might expect. Kellogg’s, however, does not include that language on its Pop-Tart boxes.
Will demand prosper?
It may be silly. But does Harris have a legal argument? Perhaps, said Edgar Dworsky, consumer attorney and founder and editor of Consumer World.
“Food labeling cases are all the rage now,” Dworsky said. “Several lawsuits have recently claimed that there is no real tuna in Subway’s tuna sandwich, that the Honey Bunches of Oats are almost devoid of honey, and that the Morning Star Farms Veggie Hot Dogs have almost no vegetables. How will those cases end? to be like tossing a coin. “
The plaintiff cited the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, stating that Kellogg’s “false and misleading representations and omissions” are likely to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. “Consumers who see the Defendant’s Product, which exclusively promotes strawberries, and the more ‘restricted’ or truthful labeling of competitors, will buy the Defendant’s product,” the lawsuit states.
“Some judges find that sellers have misrepresented their products, while others say that if the consumer takes the time to read the ingredient statement, they will know exactly what they are buying,” Dworsky said. “However, I do not have the feeling that the Pop Tarts case is going to be successful.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism