Chobani “Vanilla” Yogurt Deceptive Labeling Class Action

A significant number of recent class actions emanating primarily from a single law firm have taken issue with the labeling of certain products as “vanilla.” The complaint for this one alleges that Chobani “Vanilla” yogurt is mislabeled, because the lack of qualifications for the designation “vanilla” implies to consumers that the flavoring comes solely from vanilla beans.

The class for this action is all purchasers of the Product in New York and the other forty-nine states, during the applicable statute of limitations.

An image of the Chobani container appears on the second page of the complaint. The front includes the word “Vanilla,” right below the words “Greek yogurt,” along with representations of vanilla flowers and vanilla beans. The complaint alleges, “The unqualified, prominent and conspicuous representations as ‘Vanilla’ is false, deceptive and misleading because the Product contains non-vanilla flavors which imitate and extend vanilla but are not derived from the vanilla bean, yet these flavors are not disclosed to consumers as required and expected.”

The complaint quotes the ingredient panel as saying that the yogurt contains “natural flavors [and] vanilla extract” among other things. But isn’t vanilla extract a “natural flavor”?

The complaint says, “Flavors are only required to be declared on the front label of a product if they simulate, resemble, enhance or extend the characterizing flavor.” Unfortunately, “[t]he Product’s front label does not declare the presence of ‘natural flavors’ and only identifies ‘vanilla.’”

The “natural flavors” thus are not from vanilla beans, and because they are not unrelated to vanilla (“i.e., the ‘natural flavors are not providing a chocolate, strawberry or more ‘yogurt-y’ flavor”), the complaint alleges, the label should “at minimum indicate the presence of these “natural flavors.’”

According to the complaint, if the amount of vanilla flavor is sufficient to independently characterize the product, the front label could be “Vanilla With Other Natural Flavor.” If it does not contain enough vanilla flavor to independently characterize the product, the complaint says, the front label might be “Vanilla Flavored With Other Natural Flavor.” It quotes the Federal Code of Regulations as support for these two options.

However, the complaint also claims that either of these two options could deceive consumers because they don’t specify how much of the flavor is from vanilla as opposed to from non-vanilla flavors.

Although the makers may claim that the yogurt contains natural vanillin, the complaint claims, “as long as ‘all ingredients that are included in the final product are derived by a natural process.’” However, the complaint alleges that this would have to be acknowledged properly in the ingredient panel, because the vanillin would still not be derived from vanilla beans. According to the complaint, “Use of the term ‘natural flavor’ on the Product’s ingredient list misleads consumers and implies it is a ‘natural vanilla flavor’ because the front label only discloses vanilla, so reasonable consumers will expect its source to be vanilla beans.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Chobani “Vanilla” Yogurt Deceptive Labeling Complaint

March 10, 2020

A significant number of recent class actions emanating primarily from a single law firm have taken issue with the labeling of certain products as “vanilla.” The complaint for this one alleges that Chobani “Vanilla” yogurt is mislabeled, because the lack of qualifications for the designation “vanilla” implies to consumers that the flavoring comes solely from vanilla beans.

Chobani “Vanilla” Yogurt Deceptive Labeling Complaint

Case Event History

Chobani “Vanilla” Yogurt Deceptive Labeling Complaint

March 10, 2020

A significant number of recent class actions emanating primarily from a single law firm have taken issue with the labeling of certain products as “vanilla.” The complaint for this one alleges that Chobani “Vanilla” yogurt is mislabeled, because the lack of qualifications for the designation “vanilla” implies to consumers that the flavoring comes solely from vanilla beans.

Chobani “Vanilla” Yogurt Deceptive Labeling Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels