The plaintiff, a California resident, alleges that defendant knowingly promoted and marketed its product as being all natural to encourage consumers to purchase its products and deceiving the reasonable purchaser into believing the products were all natural. Products which are deemed mislabeled cannot be legally advertised or distributed. Diamond Foods’s claims that the tortilla chips were all natural induced the reasonable consumer to choose Kettle Brand TIAS Tortilla Chips over any other comparable product and pay a price premium for the “All Natural” chips.
According to Consumers Union, 86% of consumers expect a “natural” label to mean no processed foods or artificial ingredients are present. Both maltodextrin and dextrose (GMOs) are synthesized through severe processes which use synthetic chemicals to extract the enzymes used to produce these GMOs. Because of how severe the processes used to synthesize the GMOs are and the synthetic nature of the enzymes used throughout these processes, the resulting ingredient are no longer “natural.”
Diamond Foods, recognizing that health-conscious consumers will choose and pay extra for the natural products, took advantage of its marketing and advertising strategies and sold its synthetic-ingredients products to consumers who wished to maintain a healthy diet. The complaint alleges that defendant knew and relied on the fact that an “all natural” ingredients list is of importance to a reasonable consumer and that such information would be material to the public when it made purchasing decisions.
The lawsuit alleges violations of the California Business and Professions Code by disseminating deceptive products’ labeling and advertising representations and by engaging in unfair competition.