April 12, 2022 – Unfrosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts Class Action Tossed
The proposed class action detailed on this page was closed on April 1, 2022 after the plaintiff failed to file an amended complaint, leading the judge to enter a judgment in favor of Kellogg Sales Co.
In a 20-page memorandum opinion and order issued on March 1, which provided the plaintiff an opportunity to revise her claims, U.S. District Judge Marvin E. Aspen stated that no reasonable consumer could conclude based on the product’s packaging that Kellogg’s Unfrosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts contain a certain amount of strawberries.
The judge highlighted that the proposed class action at issue is “substantially similar” to a suit against Pepperidge Farm in which a consumer alleged the packaging for the company’s “Golden Butter” crackers was misleading because the crackers contained a “non-de minimis amount of butter substitutes,” namely vegetable oils. For that case, the judge wrote, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Act claims, finding that no “untruths on the packaging” or deception existed since the crackers were golden-colored and contained butter. According to the judge, the same reasoning applies for the plaintiff’s Unfrosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts allegations.
“Here, like the plaintiff in Floyd, Chiappetta has not identified any ‘untruths on the packaging’ or a plausible deception,” Judge Aspen wrote. “The front of the Product packaging does not state or suggest anything about the amount of strawberries in the Product’s filling or guarantee that the filling contains only strawberries, and Chiappetta concedes that the filling contains some strawberries.”
Accordingly, the order states, the plaintiff’s interpretation of the Pop-Tarts label is “unreasonable and unactionable.”
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A proposed class action contends that the packaging of Kellogg’s Unfrosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts misleads consumers into believing that the snack’s filling contains only strawberries.
Per the 14-page lawsuit, although the “strawberry” representation, picture of half a strawberry and depiction of dark red fruit filling on the Pop-Tarts’ packaging gives consumers the impression that the filling contains only or mostly strawberries, the snack filling also contains pears and apples. The case asserts that reasonable consumers would expect upon viewing the Strawberry Pop-Tarts packaging that the food contains more strawberries than it actually does.
“Defendant’s branding and packaging of the Product is designed to – and does – deceive, mislead, and defraud Plaintiff and consumers,” the complaint scathes.
The lawsuit out of Illinois federal court relays that consumers prefer strawberries over other fruits for reasons including taste, texture, adaptability and health benefits. According to the suit, strawberries are one of the most nutrient-dense fruits and provide significant levels of Vitamin C, antioxidants and polyphenols. Moreover, strawberries tend to be more expensive than apples and pears, the case adds.
The suit posits that Kellogg’s Strawberry Pop-Tarts are unable to confer the various health benefits associated with strawberries because they contain fewer strawberries than consumers expect, with the product’s filling instead supplemented with apples and pears. Per the case, the name “Strawberry Pop Tarts” is misleading to consumers given it fails to disclose the presence of apples and pears, which are only revealed “in the small print on the ingredient list.”
The lawsuit argues that the Pop-Tarts likely contain an even greater amount of non-strawberry ingredients than strawberry ingredients considering “dried strawberries” are listed at less than two percent of the snack’s ingredients.
“Even though there is more strawberry ingredient than pears and apples, back-of-the-envelope calculations can conclude that the combined total of pears and apples exceed the strawberry content,” the complaint attests.
The case goes on to allege that the presence of red 40, a synthetic food coloring, adds to consumers’ misconceptions about the Pop-Tarts’ strawberry content because it causes the multi-fruit filling to appear more like strawberries.
“This furthers consumers’ impression that the Product contains more strawberries than it does,” the suit says.
According to the lawsuit, Kellogg has sold more Strawberry Pop-Tarts, and at higher prices, than it would have absent its allegedly deceptive representations.
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