Keebler-brand mint Fudge Stripes cookies contain neither “Real Keebler Fudge” nor actual mint, a proposed class action says.
The 16-page case contends that the product, made by Ferrara Candy Company, lacks ingredients essential in real fudge—namely butter and milk—and an appreciable amount of real mint, the taste of which the suit says exists in the Fudge Stripes cookies by way of artificial flavoring. The lawsuit contends that the “Real Keebler Fudge” claim and emphasis on actual mint ingredients amount to assurances of the cookies’ ingredients that reasonable consumers would have no reason to question.
“Reasonable consumers must and do rely on a company to honestly identify and describe the components, attributes, and features of the Product, relative to itself and other comparable products or alternatives,” the complaint states. “The value of the Product that plaintiff purchased was materially less than its value as represented by defendant.”
The lawsuit calls the Keebler label representations “false, deceptive, and misleading” given the Fudge Stripes allegedly do not contain the emphasized ingredients.
According to the complaint, the Keebler brand was recently purchased by Ferrara, who the suit says revamped the brand’s lineup with “updated recipes that promise a bigger focus on ‘real’ ingredients like ‘real Keebler fudge,’ ‘real Madagascar vanilla’ and ‘even more real chocolate chips.’” As the lawsuit tells it, the defendant knows many consumers are impulsive when it comes to buying cookies, hinting at the importance of highlighting on product labels the inclusion of, for instance, “Real Keebler Fudge” and mint.
The case claims, however, that the so-called fudge in the Fudge Stripes cookies at issue lacks the butter and milk essential to real fudge. Substituted in their place are vegetable oils and whey, “lower quality, and cheaper ingredients,” the suit alleges, highlighting the product’s ingredients list and arguing that the substitution of milk fat ingredients is “not expected in [a] product represented as fudge.”
Lastly, the suit says that although the Fudge Stripes front label shows pictures of mint leaves, the cookies’ ingredients list reveals the absence of any mint, stating only “Natural and Artificial Flavors” in fine print.
“This means that any actual mint is at most a negligible part of this ingredient,” the case argues, contending that artificial flavoring cannot duplicate the flavor compounds of real mint valued by consumers.
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