A proposed class action alleges Innofoods USA and Costco Wholesale Corporation have falsely advertised their “keto” snack foods in that the sugar-laden, high-carb products are not appropriate for a ketogenic diet.
According to the 30-page case, people who follow the ketogenic diet are advised to avoid foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. Nevertheless, the products at issue, including the Keto Coconut Cluster and Dark Chocolate Keto Nuggets snacks, are labeled as “keto” or “keto-friendly,” even though they contain cane sugar and are high in carbohydrates, the lawsuit alleges.
“The use of these terms and natural imagery is designed to, and does, induce consumers, such as Plaintiff and the members of the putative classes, into believing that the snacks comport with a ketogenic diet,” the complaint contends, claiming that consumers would not have purchased the Keto snacks, or would have paid less for them, had they known the truth about the products’ ingredients.
The lawsuit explains that the ketogenic diet was originally designed to help people who suffered from seizures but has more recently been practiced by people who are looking to lose weight. Per the suit, the “keto” diet, which is high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbs, aims to force the body into ketosis, a process whereby the body uses as fuel ketone bodies produced from fat by the liver instead of sugar.
The case claims Innofoods and Costco have attempted to capitalize on the keto diet trend, in particular consumers’ search for high-protein plant-based or vegan foods, by falsely advertising their snack food products, which include a blend of plant-based ingredients like almonds, pecans and pumpkin seeds, as “keto” or “keto-friendly.” Per the suit, these “buzzword” representations trick consumers into believing the snacks are compatible with the keto diet when they are, in reality, high in sugar and carbs, two ingredients those who follow the keto diet are instructed to avoid.
For example, the Coconut Keto Clusters product contains cane sugar and brown rice syrup, and is roughly 14 percent sugar by weight, the lawsuit says. The Innofoods Dark Chocolate Keto Nuggets product likewise contains cane sugar, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit argues that discovering the true nature of the ingredients in the Innofoods products requires “investigation beyond the grocery store and knowledge of food chemistry as well as internal manufacturing habits beyond that of the average consumer.” Thus, reasonable consumers relied to their detriment on the snacks’ front label representations, the lawsuit alleges.
The case looks to represent anyone in the U.S. who purchased the Innofoods Keto products for personal or household use, and not for resale, at any time from August 25, 2018 until the date of judgment in this action.
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