May 20, 2019 – Another Lawsuit Filed Over Mondelez International’s “Real Cocoa” Claims
Mondelez International faces yet another proposed class action lawsuit that refutes the Oreo-maker’s claims that “America’s Favorite Cookie” is made with real cocoa.
The lawsuit out of California’s Northern District alleges Mondelez International’s “Always Made with Real Cocoa” claim is off the mark in that Oreos are instead made with cocoa powder processed with alkali. From the lawsuit:
“No reasonable consumer would expect the cocoa in the Products to have been processed with alkalis, because ‘real’ represents the cocoa powder is included in its most unadulterated, non-artificial form. It is false, deceptive and misleading to conspicuously promote ‘real cocoa’ without any reference to the presence and use of alkalis either preceding or following because ‘real cocoa’ without any modifying terms implies the absence of artificial ingredients in the cocoa.”
A proposed class action case out of New York alleges the labels on Oreos that defendant Mondelez Global claims are “Always Made with Real Cocoa” may be deceiving given that the gold-standard cookie does not contain cocoa “in the amount, type, and/or form” that a reasonable consumer would expect.
The lawsuit argues that the defendant has tapped into consumer demand and preference for products made with real ingredients in labeling Oreos as always made with real cocoa. While consumers may not expect a product such as cookies to be healthy or nutritious, the suit concedes, they do take some small measure of comfort in products supposedly made with minimally processed ingredients.
As the case tells it, however, Mondelez Global has misrepresented the amount of “real cocoa” in Oreos. According to the lawsuit, the ingredients list on packages of Oreos discloses the existence of “Cocoa (processed with Alkali),” the presence of which reduces the acidity of and gives a darker hue to cocoa powder while detracting from the “real cocoa” taste.
No reasonable consumer, the lawsuit stresses, would expect the cocoa in Oreos to have been made with and contain alkalis because the inclusion of the term “real” on product labeling represents that cocoa powder is utilized in its most simplified form.
“It is false, deceptive and misleading to conspicuously promote ‘real cocoa’ without any reference to the presence and use of alkalis either preceding or following because ‘real cocoa’ without any modifying terms implies the absence of artificial ingredients in the cocoa,” the suit argues.