Starbucks finds itself in the crosshairs of a proposed class action lawsuit out of New York that claims the company has unfairly and deceptively advertised its White Chocolate Doubleshot Energy Drink as containing white chocolate when, in fact, it does not. The 26-page complaint alleges Starbucks ran afoul of consumer protection laws in all 50 states and the federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act by misleading customers who ultimately purchased “a more inferior product than they had bargained for.”
“The Product is labeled as being a ‘White Chocolate’ Product,” the case reads, “but in fact it contains inferior confectionary ingredients that are not white chocolate at all.”
According to the lawsuit, the FDA’s definition of white chocolate leaves little room for interpretation:
“(a) Description. (1) White chocolate is the solid or semiplastic food prepared by intimately mixing and grinding cacao fat with one or more of the optional dairy ingredients specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section and one or more optional nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners and may contain one or more of the other optional ingredients specified in paragraph (b) of this section. White chocolate shall be free of coloring material.
(2) White chocolate contains not less than 20 percent by weight of cacao fat . . .”
The lawsuit argues that while the flavor in real white chocolate stems from the cocoa butter and cacao fat, imitation white chocolate “does not have cocoa butter as required, and instead has other cheap confectionary ingredients to imitate the taste of white chocolate.”