The Kroger Co. systematically and uniformly overstates the number of cups a canister of its ground coffee can make, a proposed class action claims.
Though the Kroger Co. represents that its ground coffee canisters contain enough coffee to yield a specific number of servings, a consumer who follows the instructions on the back panel of the product will be left with “significantly less than what is advertised on the front panel,” the 21-page lawsuit says.
According to the complaint, the Kroger Co., the largest supermarket chain in the U.S., sells the following varieties of coffee in canisters that purport to contain enough ground coffee to yield a specific number of servings:
Kroger Medium Roast Special Roast Ground Coffee 29oz;
Kroger Medium Roast Supreme Blend Ground Coffee 29oz;
Kroger Medium Roast Secret Blend Ground Coffee 30.5oz;
Kroger Dark Roast French Roast Ground Coffee 24oz;
Kroger Medium Dark Roast 100% Columbian Ground Coffee 24oz;
Kroger Medium Dark Roast 100% Columbian Ground Coffee 11.5oz; and
Kroger Medium Roast Decaf Classic Ground Coffee 25 oz.
For instance, the suit says, a canister of Kroger coffee may prominently state on its front label that it “makes about 185 cups,” or 185 servings. Representations of the number of servings each coffee canister can supposedly yield are material to consumers, the case stresses.
If a consumer were to follow the instructions on the back of a Kroger coffee canister, however, they would end up short on the stated number of servings, according to the suit. From the complaint:
“For example, Plaintiff purchased Defendant’s Kroger Medium Roast Supreme Blend Ground Coffee 29oz. The front label of the canister prominently states: ‘MAKES ABOUT 225 CUPS’ (i.e., 225 servings). Instructions on the back panel of the canister direct consumers to use the following measurements: ‘[o]ne rounded tablespoon of coffee for each 6 fl oz. of cold water.’ However, if this instruction is followed, the canister only produces approximately 110 servings, 115 short of what is advertised on the front label.”
As the lawsuit tells it, tests performed on Kroger Co.’s coffee canisters have shown that when a consumer follows the back-panel brewing instructions, they will consistently be left with a 47- to 54-percent deficiency in the total number of servings yielded.
The plaintiff, a Manhattan Beach, California resident, alleges violations of the state’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law and Unfair Competition Law. The woman claims she “did not know, and had no reason to know” that Kroger’s labeling of its coffee overstated the number of servings that could be made.
“As a direct result of Defendant’s false, misleading and deceptive representations, Defendant injured Plaintiff and members of the Class in that they were deprived of the benefit of the bargain because the Products they purchased had less value than what Defendant represented,” the lawsuit, which echoes a case filed against Folgers in May over similar allegations, claims.
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