The Kroger Company sells different types of Kroger-brand ground coffee in cannisters. Each of the cannisters shows a tag on its front label claiming that the contents of the cannister will make a certain number of servings. The complaint for this class action alleges that the number is false and significantly overstates the number of cups that can be made from the coffee in the cannister.
The class for this action is all persons in Illinois who bought one or more of the products at issue in this case in Illinois between the beginning of the statute of limitations period and the certification of the class in this case.
The products at issue include the following:
- Breakfast Blend Mild Roast
- 100% Columbian Medium Dark Roast
- Decaf Classic Medium Roast
- French Roast
- Premium Blend Medium Roast
- Reduced Caffeine Lite Medium Roast
- Select Blend Medium Roast
- Special Roast Medium Roast
- Supreme Blend Medium Roast
Page 5 of the complaint shows a 30.5-ounce cannister of Select Blend Kroger ground coffee. On the lower righthand side of the label is a small tag with the words “Makes About 235 Cups.”
On the following two pages are images of other cannisters of Kroger ground coffee with their respective tags claiming that different approximate numbers of cups can be made from the different cannisters’ contents. The numbers range from 90 cups to 235 cups. The complaint says flatly, “Those representations are false.”
The complaint reproduces the instructions for making the coffee on the back of one of the cannisters. Two methods are outlined. “To make one cup, the directions state the consumer is to use one rounded tablespoon of coffee for each 6 fluid ounces of cold water, and to make 10 cups, the consumer is to use a half cup of coffee…”
The complaint contends, “Those instructions, however, will not produce the number of cups of coffee that Kroger represents can be made on the front of the cannisters.”
How does the complaint figure this? A tablespoon is 5 grams of coffee; a rounded tablespoon would contain slightly more than that. By that measure, the complaint says, the 30.5-ounce or 864-gram containers “will produce no more than, and probably less than, 172.8 (or approximately 173) cups of coffee, not 235 cups.”
The complaint displays two tables of the various cannisters’ capacities. One is for making coffee by the cup. This table shows the promised yield of each, the actual yield, and the difference between the two numbers. The actual cannister yields appear to be smaller than the promised yields by anywhere from 25 cups to 62 cups.
The other is for making ten cups at a time. This table also shows the promised yield of each, the actual yield, and the difference between the two numbers. The actual cannister yields appear to be smaller than the promised yields by anywhere from 8.5 cups to 19.5 cups.
The complaint claims that the representations about the numbers of cups “deceptive.”