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365 Everyday Value Artificially Flavored “Vanilla” Almondmilk Creamer Class Action

When does a company get to identify a food product as simply “vanilla,” and not “vanilla flavored” or with some other qualifier? The complaint for this class action brings suit against Whole Foods Market Group, Inc., alleging that its 365 Everyday Value brand “Vanilla” Organic Almondmilk Coffee Creamer should not be labeled with the word “vanilla” without qualification.

The class for this action is all those who live in New York, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Kansas, Utah and Ohio and who bought the product during the applicable statute of limitations.

Page 2 of the complaint shows an image of the creamer container, with the word “Vanilla” in a large, bold font right in the middle of the front label. Just below that, in smaller, thinner letters are the words “Naturally Flavored Non-Dairy Creamer,” while nearer the bottom of the container are image of a vanilla blossom and a few vanilla pods.

The complaint alleges, “The front label fails to disclose that the vanilla flavor was not from the ingredient of vanilla or even natural flavors but from artificial flavors.” The law, the complaint says, “require[es] statements as to whether flavor is from the characterizing ingredient, natural flavor derived from the ingredient, natural flavor from natural sources other than the ingredient, or artificial sources[].”

The ingredient panel lists no vanilla extract or other ingredient from the vanilla plant. What it does list is “Natural Flavors,” with no further information on what these might be.

A substance called vanillin is responsible for roughly a third of the odor and flavor of vanilla flavor, the complaint says. It can be derived naturally, but generally is not, because it is part of vanilla extract and vanilla extract is more desirable. For commercial purposes, it may be made from other sources in ways that make it a synthetic flavoring.

The complex flavor of real vanilla depends on the presence of other substances, including methyl cinnamate and cinnamyl alcohol, p-cresol, acetovanillone, P-hydroxybenzoic acid and vanillic acid, and 4-methoxybenzaldehyde and 4-methoxybenzyl alcohol. Vanillin can taste “chemical-like” because it does not have these other components.

The complaint claims, “Analytical testing of the Product in the fall of 2020 and/or winter of 2021 revealed it contains added vanillin.”

According to the complaint, this added vanillin is not from vanilla beans “because (1) the amount of vanillin was significantly greater than it would be if it were only present as part of any vanilla in the ‘Natural Flavor’ ingredient, (2) the vanillin was unaccompanied by the expected amounts of other aromatic compounds from the vanilla plant and (3) the inability to produce vanillin at scale through methods which can be considered natural processes.”

The complaint thus alleges, “Because the Product contains artificial flavor that ‘simulates, resembles or reinforces the characterizing flavor,’ the front label is required to state, ‘Artificially Flavored.’”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

365 Everyday Value Artificially Flavored “Vanilla” Almondmilk Creamer Complaint

February 22, 2021

When does a company get to identify a food product as simply “vanilla,” and not “vanilla flavored” or with some other qualifier? The complaint for this class action brings suit against Whole Foods Market Group, Inc., alleging that its 365 Everyday Value brand “Vanilla” Organic Almondmilk Coffee Creamer should not be labeled with the word “vanilla” without qualification.

365 Everyday Value Artificially Flavored “Vanilla” Almondmilk Creamer Complaint

Case Event History

365 Everyday Value Artificially Flavored “Vanilla” Almondmilk Creamer Complaint

February 22, 2021

When does a company get to identify a food product as simply “vanilla,” and not “vanilla flavored” or with some other qualifier? The complaint for this class action brings suit against Whole Foods Market Group, Inc., alleging that its 365 Everyday Value brand “Vanilla” Organic Almondmilk Coffee Creamer should not be labeled with the word “vanilla” without qualification.

365 Everyday Value Artificially Flavored “Vanilla” Almondmilk Creamer Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels