A proposed class action claims consumers have been misled by the packaging of Fairlife LLC’s Core Power Vanilla High Protein Milk Shake in that it fails to disclose the presence of artificial, non-vanilla flavors and that the product is made with less vanilla than expected.
Upon reading the “Vanilla” and “Natural Flavors” representations on the shake’s front label, a reasonable consumer would be unaware that artificial flavors from non-vanilla sources, such as maltol, piperonal and vanillin, provide “much or most of the vanilla taste,” the 21-page case claims.
According to the lawsuit, the standards governing the labeling of vanilla products are more stringent than those for any other flavor due to “rampant misleading labeling” of items containing the expensive, commonly used ingredient.
Due to increased demand for products made with natural ingredients, the vanilla regulations were enacted to allow consumers to determine whether a product is wholly or partly flavored with vanilla derived from vanilla beans or gets its flavor from sources other than real vanilla beans, the suit relays.
Per the complaint, the Core Power vanilla protein shake lists “Natural Flavors” among its ingredients instead of “an exclusively vanilla ingredient,” such as “vanilla extract” or “vanilla flavoring.” In a product with a characterizing vanilla flavor, the use of the term “natural flavors” indicates that the product’s flavor comes from a combination of vanilla and non-vanilla flavor, known as “Vanilla With Other Natural Flavors,” the lawsuit says.
According to the case, these non-vanilla components, which may include maltol, piperonal and vanillin, must be designated as artificial flavors because they modify a standardized vanilla ingredient.
The lawsuit argues that Fairlife’s representation of its Core Power product as “Vanilla” directly above “Natural Flavors” without any qualifying terms that disclose the presence of non-vanilla and artificial vanilla flavors is misleading in that consumers are mistakenly led to believe that the shake’s vanilla taste is provided by vanilla beans.
“Consumers will expect the Product’s characterizing vanilla flavor to be provided by a sufficient amount of the characterizing food ingredient, vanilla from vanilla beans from the vanilla plant, and contain no other flavor compounds which contribute to its vanilla taste,” the complaint alleges.
According to the case, the defendant’s packaging “is designed to—and does—deceive, mislead, and defraud” consumers, who paid a premium price for a product that contains less real vanilla and more artificial flavors than they expected.
“Had plaintiff and class members known the truth, they would not have bought the Product or would have paid less for them,” the lawsuit claims.
Get class action lawsuit news sent to your inbox – sign up for ClassAction.org’s newsletter here.