A proposed class action alleges The J.M. Smucker Company and The Folger Coffee Company have overstated the number of cups that can be made from the contents of Folgers ground coffee products.
Per the case, although the front label on each canister of Folgers ground coffee states that the package can produce a certain number of servings—for instance, “MAKES UP TO 240 6 FL OZ CUPS”—consumers cannot make anywhere close to the advertised amount when the defendants’ brewing directions are followed.
The lawsuit alleges the companies’ overstatement of the number of cups of coffee that can be made from Folgers canisters has caused consumers to overpay for the products. The allegedly overstated number-of-cups claim is included on the product label for every variety of Folgers ground coffee, including Classic Roast, Classic Roast Decaf, ½ Caff, CoffeeHouse Blend, Country Roast, Simply Smooth, Simply Smooth Decaf, 100% Colombian, Black Silk, Black Silk Decaf, Brazilian Blend, Breakfast Blend, French Roast, Gourmet Supreme, House Blend, and Special Roast varieties, the suit says.
“Indeed, it is a classic and unlawful bait-and-switch scheme that causes unsuspecting consumers to spend more money for less than the advertised amount of coffee they believe they are purchasing,” the complaint scathes.
The case claims a simple calculation reveals that the amount of ground coffee in each Folgers canister does not measure up to the number of servings represented on the front label.
Per the complaint, each product’s back label contains instructions that direct consumers to use one tablespoon of ground coffee to make one six-ounce serving. Given that one tablespoon of ground coffee weighs five grams, a 30.5 oz canister of Folgers Classic Roast that the defendants claim is able to produce 240 servings should contain 1,200 grams of ground coffee (240 tablespoons multiplied by five grams), the case relays. However, the 30.5 oz canister has a net weight of 865 grams, according to the suit.
“Therefore, it contains only 72% of the amount of ground coffee required to make up to 240 cups of coffee [865 / 1200 x 100%]. This is equivalent to approximately 173 cups of coffee,” the complaint reads.
The lawsuit claims the same calculations can be applied to all of the defendants’ Folgers products, and reveal that the contents of each canister are unable to produce “anywhere near” the advertised number of cups of coffee. Per the suit, at least 42 varieties of Folgers products contain “substantially less” ground coffee than required to make the advertised number of servings stated on the packaging, revealing what the lawsuit calls a “systemic course of unlawful conduct” on the part of the defendants to deceive consumers.