Stop & Shop’s Naturally Flavored Cinnamon Graham Crackers contain less whole grain flour than consumers are led to expect, according to a proposed class action.
The lawsuit alleges that although the product’s name and label representations, in particular their emphasis on the word “Graham,” give consumers the impression that graham flour, a type of whole grain flour, is the crackers’ predominant flour ingredient, the product, in truth, contains mostly enriched wheat flour.
According to the case, consumers are willing to pay more for a product made with mostly whole wheat flour because it contains more fiber than refined white flour. Thus, defendant Ahold U.S.A., Inc., the company who manufactures Stop & Shop-brand items, has been able to sell more of the graham crackers, and at a higher price, than it would have absent the allegedly misleading labeling, the suit contests.
The lawsuit states that whole wheat flour uses all three parts of the grain, whereas enriched flour contains only the endosperm. Per the case, federal regulators have recognized that consumers who view products labeled as containing whole grain expect that “all, or virtually all,” of the food is whole grain, or that all the grain ingredients are whole grain.
By emphasizing the “graham” ingredient, i.e., a whole grain ingredient, the defendant, according to the suit, has misled consumers into believing the graham crackers contain more fiber than they actually do. In truth, the product’s whole grain content is only about 25 percent of the amount of refined flour used in the crackers, the case alleges. Indeed, the product’s nutrition facts panel indicates that the graham crackers are not a good source of fiber, and contain only one gram of fiber per serving, according to the suit.
The case goes on to allege that the defendant’s use of a small amount of honey and molasses further misleads consumers as to the graham crackers’ whole grain content given they lend the product a darker color.
“The Product’s color would be significantly lighter if based solely on the ratio of refined white flour to whole grain graham flour,” the complaint attests.
Per the suit, the labeling and color of the graham crackers provide buyers with “an erroneous impression” that whole wheat is present “in amounts greater than it is.”
The case looks to represent anyone in New York who purchased the Naturally Flavored Cinnamon Graham Crackers within the statute of limitations period.
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