Market Overview

Food Fight: 6 Lawsuits That Alleged Proof Wasn't In The Pudding

Food Fight: 6 Lawsuits That Alleged Proof Wasn't In The Pudding

There are no bears in Gummi Bears, no geese in Grey Goose vodka and, a class-action lawsuit contends, no real vegetables in Garden Veggie Straws.

Annoyed by what they allege is misleading advertising, two men have filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York against Hain Celestial Group Inc (NASDAQ: HAIN), according to Law360.

John Solak and Jim Figger said in a suit filed earlier this month that the “vibrantly” depicted vegetables on the packaging bore little resemblance to the stuff inside.

The suit said the five main ingredients are actually potato starch, potato flour, corn starch, tomato paste and spinach powder.

“Although defendant markets the Garden Veggie Straws as healthful and nutritious, defendant’s product is devoid of the health benefits plaintiffs and other reasonable consumers associate with consuming real ripe vegetable produce or products,” the complaint said.

See Also: Cereal Killers: Breakfast Food Makers Retool To Capture Elusive Millennials

In an era of increasing health awareness - and manufacturers seeking to cater to consumers’ shifting tastes - such suits are common.

Some examples:

  • Kellogg Company (NYSE: K) has been sued at least four times by people who claim there isn’t any fruit in Froot Loops. In each case, judges ruled that people should not confuse “fruit” with “froot,” a clear case of a beneficial misspelling.
  • A federal judge in Minnesota recently dismissed a class-action suit against General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) alleging that Nature Valley granola bars were not 100 percent natural as advertised because they contained trace amounts of an herbicide and a drying agent. The judge ruled that standard the plaintiffs were seeking was too stringent, and that the bars were indeed made with “100 percent natural oats,” chemicals notwithstanding.
  • In 2009, a federal judge in California ruled against a man who claimed that Quaker Oats’ Cap’n Crunch cereal, the parent company of which is PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP), didn’t contain “crunchberries” as advertised. The judge ruled that any reasonable person would understand that crunchberries aren’t a real thing.
  • In 2010, The Dannon Company agreed to pay consumers $35 million after it was sued for claiming that its Activia and DanActive yogurt can strengthen the body's defenses or regulate digestion because of bacteria they contain.
  • In 2014, the Austrian-based Red Bull Company agreed to settle a class-action suit for $13 million. The energy drink was sued in federal court in New York over its claim - seriously - that Red Bull “gives you wings.” Red Bull said it settled to avoid costly litigation.

Related Articles (HAIN + GIS)

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