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Chobani “45% Less Sugar” Yogurt Claims Class Action

Consumers these days often want to consume less sugar, but how are food and drink manufacturers permitted to indicate that their products contain “less” sugar? Chobani, LLC sells Less Sugar Greek Yogurt products that have “45% Less Sugar Than Other Yogurts” (with an asterisk following this claim). The complaint for this class action alleges that this claim is “false, deceptive, misleading and unlawful.” In an accurate comparison, the complaint claims, the product has only 25% less sugar.

The class for this action is all those who live in Massachusetts and New York who bought the product during the applicable statutes of limitations.

The first distinction the complaint makes is between nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners. Nutritive sweeteners, like sugar and honey, contain calories. Non-nutritive plant-based sweeteners, like stevia and monk fruit extract, contain few if any calories. Some companies also use synthetic, no-calorie sweeteners.

Federal regulations permit “relative claims” for nutrient contents, such as “light,” “reduced,” “less,” and “more.” In relative claims, a maker compares its product to other products (reference products). The complaint says, “In making a relative claim that uses the term ‘less,’ the reference food must be (1) representative of the type of food that includes the product that bears the claim or (2) the manufacturer’s regular product.” This rule allows consumers to make useful comparisons.

In Chobani’s comparison of its product as having less sugar than “other yogurts,” the other yogurts are the reference products. However, the complaint alleges that it’s not a valid choice for a reference product because it includes only products with sugar (a nutritive sweetener) and “excludes similar yogurts that consumers regard as sufficiently similar alternatives to its Product, because they contain non-nutritive sweeteners.”

How does this affect Chobani’s claim? According to the complaint, consumers regard yogurts that are sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners as acceptable alternatives for those sweetened with sugar and, it says, they should therefore be part of the “other yogurts” reference products. The complaint alleges, “When non-nutritive sweetened yogurts are included in the ‘other yogurts,’ the average amount of sugar is 12.22g per 5.3 oz instead of 17g.” This means that “the Product only has 25% less sugar when accurately compared.”

The complaint thus asserts that Chobani’s claim “is based upon cherry-picking the data…” Because of this, it says, consumers “are misled by Defendant’s ‘45% Less Sugar’ claim into purchasing the Chobani product, expecting a greater sugar reduction than they receive.”

The counts include negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and violations of consumer protection statutes.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Chobani “45% Less Sugar” Yogurt Claims Complaint

December 31, 2020

Consumers these days often want to consume less sugar, but how are food and drink manufacturers permitted to indicate that their products contain “less” sugar? Chobani, LLC sells Less Sugar Greek Yogurt products that have “45% Less Sugar Than Other Yogurts” (with an asterisk following this claim). The complaint for this class action alleges that this claim is “false, deceptive, misleading and unlawful.” In an accurate comparison, the complaint claims, the product has only 25% less sugar.

Chobani “45% Less Sugar” Yogurt Claims Complaint

Case Event History

Chobani “45% Less Sugar” Yogurt Claims Complaint

December 31, 2020

Consumers these days often want to consume less sugar, but how are food and drink manufacturers permitted to indicate that their products contain “less” sugar? Chobani, LLC sells Less Sugar Greek Yogurt products that have “45% Less Sugar Than Other Yogurts” (with an asterisk following this claim). The complaint for this class action alleges that this claim is “false, deceptive, misleading and unlawful.” In an accurate comparison, the complaint claims, the product has only 25% less sugar.

Chobani “45% Less Sugar” Yogurt Claims Complaint
Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Hiding Sugar, Untrue Product Claims