Kellogg Sales Company has misrepresented a number of MorningStar Farms products in that their predominant non-water ingredient is not vegetables, or even vegetable-based, as consumers are led to believe, but grain or oil, a proposed class action claims.
The 16-page lawsuit, brought in California on September 17, claims that although the name and marketing of the following MorningStar Farms meat alternatives prominently include the word “VEGGIE,” the ingredients list on the products’ packaging reveals that vegetable-based components, or actual vegetables, are second fiddle to, for instance, “water, wheat gluten, [and] corn syrup solids”:
MorningStar Farms Veggie Burgers:
Grillers Prime Burgers
MorningStar Farms Veggie Dogs:
MorningStar Farms Veggie Chik’n:
BBQ Chik’n Nuggets
Zesty Ranch Chik’n Nuggets
Sweet Mustard Chik’n Nugget
Original Chik Patties
Buffalo Chik Patties
MorningStar Farms Veggie Meal Starters:
Italian Sausage Style Crumbles
MorningStar Farms Veggie Breakfast:
Original Sausage Patties
Sausage, Egg, & Cheese
Hot & Spicy Sausage Patties
Maple Flavored Sausage Patties
MorningStar Farms Veggitizers:
Parmesan Garlic Wings
Pepperoni Pizza Bites
Sausage Pizza Bites
Chorizo Nacho Bites
Spicy Popcorn Chik’n.
“Because the predominant ingredient in each of the Veggie Products is grain or oil, Kellogg’s representation that the Veggie Products are ‘VEGGIE’ is false or at least highly misleading to the reasonable consumer,” the complaint contends.
Spotlighting MorningStar Farms’ “Veggie Dogs” as an example, the lawsuit relays that the product’s packaging states that it “Contains 2% or less of” various ingredients aside from water, wheat gluten and corn syrup solids, a dry version of corn syrup. Only some of those ingredients, such as “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” are vegetable-based, the suit says.
The lawsuit alleges Kellogg’s labeling of the MorningStar Farms products as “VEGGIE” violates both California and federal food labeling laws, including because the manufacturer fails to disclose the percentage of vegetables in the products. According to the suit, consumers have lost money by buying MorningStar Farms products over similar meat alternatives “without misleading labeling”:
“In purchasing the Veggie Products, Plaintiff read and relied on Kellogg’s description of the Products as ‘VEGGIE.’ Those representations, however, were false or at least highly misleading, and had the capacity, tendency, and likelihood to confuse or confound Plaintiff and other consumers acting reasonably because, as described herein, the Veggie Products’ predominant ingredients are not vegetables or vegetable-based, but grain- or oil-based.”
Absent the allegedly false and misleading labeling of MorningStar Farms “veggie” products, consumers would have paid less for the items, or may not have bought them at all, the case alleges.
The suit looks to represent consumers who bought any of the MorningStar Farms products listed above in California within the last four years.
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