A proposed class action says Starbucks Refreshers are falsely advertised in that they’re made predominantly with water, grape juice concentrate and sugar, and do not contain the fruits for which they’re named.
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The 18-page case claims that the Starbucks Refresher drinks—which bear the names Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade, Mango Dragonfruit, Strawberry Acai Lemonade, Strawberry Acai, Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade and Pineapple Passionfruit—contain no mango, passionfruit or acai.
The filing contends that consumers have paid a premium for the purportedly fruit-based drinks based on Starbucks’ naming of the products. Starbucks’ decision to include specific fruits in the name of the products represents to consumers that the beverages in fact contain those fruits, the suit argues.
“Unfortunately for consumers, Defendant engages in false and misleading advertising regarding the Products to gain a competitive edge in the market, all at the expense of unsuspecting consumers,” the case alleges.
The lawsuit argues that the presence of fruit is “central” to the products’ identity, and that consumers reasonably expect Starbucks Refreshers to contain all of the fruits listed in their respective names.
Per the suit, consumers do not expect Starbucks items to be made mostly from water, grape juice concentrate and sugar.
“Consumers expect Starbucks’ products to live up to their name, and many of them rightfully do. Indeed, Starbucks’ hot chocolate contains cocoa, its matcha lattes contain matcha, and its honey mint tea contains honey and mint, just as consumers expect. While these Starbucks’ products live up to their names and contain their promised ingredients, the Products are missing mango, passionfruit, and acai.”
“Furthering the deceptive nature of Starbucks’ advertising,” the lawsuit continues, is that the Refresher drinks do, in fact, contain freeze-dried pieces of strawberries, pineapple and dragonfruit, which indicate to a reasonable consumer that the products “fully live up to [their name].”
Nowhere does Starbucks disclose that the Refreshers are without their promised ingredients, the complaint says.
The lawsuit moreover argues that the fruit juices apparently missing from the Refresher beverages are important to consumers because they contain premium ingredients that are more nutritious than grape juice concentrate.
The suit looks to cover all New York residents who bought any Starbucks Refresher beverage in the state for personal, family or household consumption, and not for resale, within the applicable statute of limitations period.
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