Starbucks finds itself as the defendant in a proposed class action lawsuit filed by a consumer who claims the company has deceptively misbranded and falsely advertised its Sour Gummies candy. According to the case, the label on Starbucks’ Sour Gummies identifies the product as “apple, watermelon, tangerine and lemon-flavored candies” yet fails to disclose the presence of an artificial flavor.
“The Product is labeled as if it is flavored only with natural ingredients when in fact the Product is artificially flavored,” the 29-page suit argues. “Because consumers prefer naturally-flavored food products over products with artificial flavors, and will pay more for natural products, [Starbucks] intentionally conceals the artificial flavor from consumers.”
The suit more specifically claims Starbucks adds a synthetic flavoring chemical mixture—fumaric acid—to its sour gummies that “mimics and reinforces” the snack’s supposedly natural flavoring. Fumaric acid, the case continues, lends to the gummies their sour flavor. According to the complaint, California law requires disclosures on both the front and back labels of a product that indicate the presence of artificial flavoring.
The suit asks the court to order Starbucks to cease packaging, labeling, advertising and selling its Sour Gummies in such a purportedly deceptive manner, as well as conduct a corrective advertising campaign and re-label or recall all products currently labeled as containing only natural flavors.