Teas’ Tea Organic “Slightly Sweet” beverages are falsely and misleadingly labeled so as to intentionally induce consumers into buying the products, a proposed class action says.
The 26-page suit claims the label of defendant Ito En (North America)’s iced tea product leads consumers to believe the beverage is low in sugar and, in fact, only lightly sweetened. In truth, the product is anything but “slightly sweet” and low in sugar, the lawsuit says.
“Instead, Defendant’s Product is high in sugar which directly contradicts the sugar representation Defendant prominently makes on its label,” the complaint, filed in New York federal court, alleges.
The lawsuit claims the reason Ito En so prominently represents Teas’ Tea as “slightly sweet” is to induce consumers into paying a premium price for the product.
“Plaintiffs would not have purchased or paid more for the Product had they known or were aware that the Product was not ‘Slightly Sweet’ or low in sugar,” the case avers.
Despite label representations that the product is “slightly sweet,” the defendant’s Teas’ Tea drink contains 20 grams of added sugar, the lawsuit says. According to the suit, 20 grams of added sugar is “a significant and excessive amount,” and equates to a consumer adding roughly five teaspoons of sugar to their beverage. For contrast, the American Heart Association recommends that men consume 37.5 and women 25 grams of added sugar per day, the case reads.
“In other words,” the lawsuit says, “Defendant misled consumers into believing they were consuming a beverage low in sugar while, in truth, they were consuming almost the entirety of the recommended added sugar per day in a single drink.”
The case argues that the representation on the product’s label indicating that the beverage is “slightly sweet” is understood in its ordinary and common usage to mean the drink contains only a small amount of added sugar. Per the suit, the representation of how much sugar a beverage contains is material to consumers in that many are willing to pay more for a product they believe to be organic and low in sugar content:
“In other words, consumers believe they are purchasing a ‘slightly sweet’ product which is low in sugar content and pass over other cheaper alternatives to make a purchase decision that better suits their health preferences and lifestyle.”
The case looks to represent consumers nationwide who, during the maximum period of time allowed by law, bought any flavor of Teas’ Tea primarily for personal, family or household purposes and not for resale.
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