A proposed class action claims the packaging of Orgain Plant Based Protein Powder with “Vanilla Bean Flavor” is misleading to consumers in that it fails to disclose the presence of artificial vanilla flavors.
According to the case, the product made by defendant Orgain Management, Inc. does not contain “any appreciable amount” of flavoring from vanilla beans and tastes dissimilar to what consumers would expect from something labeled as containing “vanilla bean flavor.” Instead, the protein powder is flavored by artificial vanillin, maltol and piperonal, the lawsuit says.
The suit claims the defendant’s failure to disclose the presence of artificial flavors on the protein powder’s front label is deceptive to consumers, a significant number of whom the case says are willing to pay more for foods that contain no artificial flavors.
Per the lawsuit, although the Orgain protein powder’s front label states “Vanilla Bean Flavor,” the product’s ingredients list states only “Organic Natural Flavors” and “Natural Flavor.”
According to the suit, laboratory analysis reveals that the product contains not natural flavors but the undisclosed artificial flavors vanillin, maltol and piperonal. Though the case concedes that such flavors can be produced naturally from vanilla beans, the suit claims the defendant likely does not use naturally produced flavors since the processes to do so are “slow and non-economical.”
Moreover, the levels of vanillin, maltol and piperonal in the protein powder do not match the levels that would be present had natural versions of the chemicals been used, the suit argues. Further, the absence of other vanilla flavor components in the protein powder suggests that the flavor was not derived from real vanilla beans, according to the case.
Food labeling regulations mandate that a product’s front label disclose that the item is “artificially flavored” when the food contains an artificial flavor that stimulates a characterizing flavor such as vanilla bean, the lawsuit relays. The non-disclosure of the protein powder’s artificial flavoring on the front label, as well as the description of the flavors as “Organic Natural Flavors” and “Natural Flavor,” is misleading to consumers, the case says.
“Defendant’s listing of ‘Organic Natural Flavors’ and ‘Natural Flavor’ makes it inconceivable for consumers without chromatography equipment at the checkout line to ascertain the Product contains artificial flavors,” the complaint states.
The case goes on to allege that the representation on the Orgain protein powder’s side panel that reads “Our Commitment to Clean Nutrition” is also misleading to consumers given the product contains numerous artificial, highly processed ingredients, including erythritol and xanthan gum, that buyers would not associate with being “clean.”
Had consumers known the truth regarding the Orgain protein powder’s ingredients, they would not have purchased the product or would have paid less for it, the suit argues.
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