Eden Creamery, LLC finds itself as the defendant in a proposed class action lawsuit filed in New York in which the plaintiff alleges the company’s famed Halo Top-brand ice cream is not, in fact, ice cream at all. According to the 14-page complaint, Halo Top, if anything, is “light ice cream,” a distinct product type not to be confused with bona fide ice cream.
Filed in New York federal court, the lawsuit centers on the images used on Halo Top’s labels, in particular the depictions of ice cream and the color yellow, which the complaint says consumers associate “with butter and cream, because of the milk produced by pasture-raised and forage-eating cows.”
“These images reinforce consumers’ expectations that the Products will be ice cream as opposed to the purported light ice cream,” the suit reads, noting that the “standard identity” for true ice cream requires it to “not contain less than ten percent milkfat.”
The case charges Halo Top does not comply with federal product labeling standards in that the “light ice cream” descriptor must, by law, be principally displayed on the front panel of the label in bold type in a size “reasonably related to the most prominent printed matter” on the product’s label. From the lawsuit:
“The Products do not comply with the requirements because ‘light ice cream’ is (1) present in a miniscule font, (2) off to the lower right of the label, away from the brand name and flavor, (3) in a color pattern which causes it to be difficult to see based on the background color, (4) in an area of the container prone to ice or condensed water obstructing it and (5) no reference foods are indicated next to the ‘light ice cream’ text nor anywhere else on the label.”
As far as Halo Top’s ingredients are concerned, the lawsuit claims that aspect of the product doesn’t pass muster either, as Halo Top contains inulin, a microcrystal contributor, and erythritol, a sugar alcohol the lawsuit says allows for ice cream products to “be chilled to lower temperatures” to achieve a desired texture.
The lawsuit seeks to cover a class of consumers nationwide, as well as a New York-specific subclass, who bought Halo Top products within the applicable statute of limitations.