Consumers might be getting shortchanged on the protein found in certain items sold by Beyond Meat, a new lawsuit alleges.
According to the proposed class action, a number of claims made by the company concerning both protein and nutritional benefits are “false and misleading.”
Specifically, the 46-page complaint out of Illinois alleges that the plant-based meat substitute company “miscalculates and overstates” its products’ protein content and protein quality.
The suit also alleges Beyond Meat misleads consumers into believing that its products provide equivalent nutritional benefits to those afforded by traditional meat-based foods.
Be sure to scroll down to see which Beyond Meat products are mentioned in the lawsuit.
According to the suit, Beyond Meat has engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices by “intentionally misrepresenting” the nature and quality of its products and failing to follow federal regulations regarding the appropriate testing methods for determining protein content.
The case claims that industry-standard testing done by the six plaintiffs revealed that many Beyond Meat items contained less protein than indicated on their respective product labels.
“As manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, distributors, and/or retailers, Defendant tested, or should have tested, the Products prior to sale,” the lawsuit reads. “As such, Defendant knows or should have known that the claims are false and misleading on the Products.”
Proper protein testing refutes Beyond Meat’s label claims, lawsuit says
The lawsuit states that the nitrogen content method is typically used to calculate a given food’s protein content.
Federal law, however, requires the disclosure of not only protein content but protein quality, the case states. Protein quality is established via a more rigorous testing methodology called the Protein Digestibility Amino Acid Corrected Score (PDCAAS), which provides the “corrected” amount of protein per serving and takes into account factors such as a human’s ability to digest the protein.
The lawsuit stresses that because Beyond Meat makes a “protein claim” on its products’ front label, the company is required by law to use the PDCAAS calculation rather than some other “non-sophisticated method.”
“So for a product like [Beyond Meat’s products], the protein content may be calculated using the nitrogen method, but it must be stated as a percentage of the Daily Reference Value using the corrected amount of protein,” the case relays, adding that federal regulations acknowledge that the nitrogen method is “not the most accurate way to describe protein content.”
According to the filing, independent testing has revealed that the quantity of protein in all but four of the products listed in the following section is “less than what [the] Defendant represented.” Even worse, the suit says, the daily value percentage of protein in each of the items is “a small fraction” of what Beyond Meat claims.
Plaintiffs’ counsel commissioned testing of Defendant’s Products, which show that the Products do not contain the amount of stated protein amount and/or protein DV%. For example, Defendant’s Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground 16oz Patties, which is labeled as ‘20G Per Serving’ and ‘40% DV’ for protein, actually contains 19G Per Serving by nitrogen testing, and 7% DV for protein. This represents an underfill of 5% for protein content and an underfill of 33% for %DV for protein.”
Consumers would not have bought the Beyond Meat products, or would have paid less for them, had they been aware of the “misleading labeling,” the suit contends, alleging Beyond Meat “intended” for buyers to be “deceived or misled.”
What Beyond Meat products does the suit say are falsely advertised?
The lawsuit alleges Beyond Meat has misrepresented the protein quality and/or content, as well as the overall nutritional benefit, of the following products:
Beyond Meat Sausage Plant-Based Dinner Links Hot Italian 14 oz.; Beyond Meat Beyond Sausage Plant-Based Dinner Sausage Links Brat Original 14 oz.; Beyond Meat Beyond Beef Plant-Based 16 oz. Patties; Beyond Meat Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground Beef; Beyond Meat Beyond Breakfast Sausage Plant-Based Breakfast Patties Classic 7.4 oz.; Beyond Meat Beyond Breakfast Sausage Plant-Based Breakfast Patties Spicy 7.4 oz.; Beyond Meat Beyond Chicken Plant-Based Breaded Tenders Classic 8 oz.; Beyond Meat Beyond Meatballs Italian Style Plant-Based Meatballs 12 ct Classic 10 oz.; and Beyond Meat Beyond Breakfast Sausage Plant-Based Breakfast Links Classic 8.3 oz.
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Who’s covered by the Beyond Meat class action?
The lawsuit looks to represent all consumers in the United States who, during the fullest period allowed by law, bought any of the Beyond Meat products listed on this page for personal use and not for resale.
I’ve bought some Beyond Meat products. What’s next?
After a class action suit is filed, there’s usually nothing you need to do to join or be included. For consumers, it’s only if and when a class action settles that action might be needed, typically by filing a claim online or by mail.
If the Beyond Meat class action settles sometime in the future and you’re “covered,” you would most likely receive a notice by mail and/or email. This notice will contain information on how to file a claim, your legal rights, any proof you might need to submit, and more.
Most class action suits take some time to work through the legal process, usually on their way to a settlement, dismissal or arbitration. For now, Beyond Meat buyers, and anyone else interested in class action lawsuit and settlement news, should sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter.
A PDF of the complaint can be found below.