ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC recently commenced a class action against Welch Foods, Inc. and The Promotion in Motion Companies, Inc. seeking redress for Defendants’ unconscionable and deceptive consumer practices in misrepresenting the fruit content and the nutritional and health qualities of Welch’s fruit snacks (the “Fruit Snacks” or “Products”), in the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey, Monmouth County.
The Complaint alleges that Defendants engaged in a deceptive marketing campaign to convince consumers that the Fruit Snacks contain significant amounts of the actual fruits shown in the marketing and on the labeling of the Products, are nutritious and healthful to consume, and are more healthful than similar products. In fact, these representations are not accurate.
For example, in a May 19, 2009 press release announcing the launch of the Island Fruits variety of the Fruit Snacks, Michael Rosenberg, President and CEO of Promotion in Motion, claimed, “Like all Welch’s® Fruit Snacks, new Island Fruits is made with Real Fruit and Fruit Juices . . . It’s a better alternative to lots of other snacks as it also contains 100% of the daily value of Vitamin C, 25% of the daily value of Vitamins A and E and is fat free. We find that Mom is putting one pack of Welch’s® Fruit Snacks Island Fruits in her kid’s lunchbox—and keeping one pack for herself.” Indeed, Defendants label and market the Fruit Snacks as “Made With REAL Fruit,” prominently depict a cornucopia of characterizing fruits on the front of each package, and prominently claim that “Fruit is our 1st Ingredient!”
However, Defendants’ Fruit Snacks contain only minimal amounts of the vibrantly depicted fruits, and are no more healthful than candy. In fact, two of the first three ingredients in the Fruits Snacks are added sweeteners. On average, sugar makes up 40% of each serving of the regular Fruit Snacks, 60% of each serving of the Fruit ’n Yogurt Snacks, more than half of each serving of the PB & J Snacks, and about 40% of the Fruit Rolls Snacks. The Products are mostly a combination of corn syrup, sugar, modified corn starch, juice from concentrate, and artificial flavors and dyes. The fruits that Defendants depict in the marketing and labeling of the Fruit Snacks are not the most predominant fruit in the Product and Defendants are only able to claim that “Fruit is our 1st Ingredient!” by violating federal labeling law.
Thus, although Defendants market their Fruit Snacks as healthful and nutritious, these Products are devoid of the health benefits Plaintiff and other reasonable consumers associate with consuming real fruit.
The Complaint alleges that Defendants’ deceptions played a substantial part in influencing Plaintiff’s, and other consumers’, decisions to purchase the Fruit Snacks. Plaintiff relied on Defendants’ “Made With REAL Fruit” claims prominently displayed on the front of the Products’ packages. If Plaintiff had known the true fruit content, as well as the true nutritional and health qualities of the Fruit Snacks she purchased, she would not have purchased the Fruit Snacks.
As a result, the Complaint alleges that Defendants’ deceptive statements regarding the Fruit Snacks violate state and federal law. Plaintiff asserts claims on behalf of herself and on behalf of all purchasers of the Fruit Snacks for Defendants’ violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq. (“CFA”), the New Jersey Truth in Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act, N.J.S.A. 56:12-14 through 18 (“TCCWNA”), and for fraud, breach of express and implied warranties, and unjust enrichment.
ANSELL GRIMM & AARON, PC regularly pursues claims on behalf of consumers deceived by marketing, labeling, or other misinformation concerning food and other products in the marketplace. If you, or someone you know, has purchased a product relying on deceptive information please contact Joshua S. Bauchner (email@example.com) or Michael H. Ansell (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your case.
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