Coca-Cola “Vanilla” Coke Labeling New York Class Action

The Coca-Cola Company sells a version of its popular Coca-Cola in a vanilla version known as Vanilla Coke. The complaint for this class action alleges that the name and representations on the can are deceptive and misleading because the drink is not flavored exclusively with vanilla.

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

An image of the drink can is reproduced on the second page of the complaint, showing the words “Vanilla” and “Vanilla Flavored & Other Natural Flavors.”

The complaint alleges that the representations on the can are misleading, because “although the characterizing flavor is represented as vanilla, the vanilla taste is not exclusively from vanilla and is from artificial flavors.”

Three different surveys referred to by the complaint claim that majorities of consumers (from 62% to 76%) avoid artificial flavors.

Real vanilla flavor, from the vanilla plant, is popular, rare, and expensive. The complaint says, “Because of widespread fraud in vanilla products, vanilla became the only flavor for which a standard of identity was established” with rules different from the general flavoring rules.

The ingredient panel for the drink shows “Natural Flavors” but no vanilla. If the drink contained real vanilla, the complaint says, the ingredient “Vanilla Extract” or “Vanilla Flavoring” should be shown as the specified name of a real vanilla ingredient.

The front notation “Vanilla Flavored & Other Natural Flavors,” the complaint says, is consistent with the labeling for what is known as “Vanilla WONF” or “Vanilla with Other Natural Flavors.” “However,” the complaint says, “when a product’s primary characterizing flavor is vailla, it is misleading to use the ‘WONF’ labeling structure because the vanilla standards take precedence over the general flavor regulations where they may otherwise be in conflict.”

What does that mean? The complaint claims, “The vanilla regulations require that where a product is labeled as vanilla, the addition of non-vanilla flavors that increase and promote a vanilla taste are required to be declared as artificial flavors, so consumers are not misled.”

If vanillin is used, the label must tell consumers that the drink “contains vanillin, an artificial flavor” (or “flavoring”).

The complaint alleges that Coca-Cola’s “branding and packaging of the Product is designed to—and does—deceive, mislead, and defraud … consumers.” It claims that the company sells more of the product and at higher prices because of these representations.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Coca-Cola “Vanilla” Coke Labeling New York Complaint

July 1, 2020

The Coca-Cola Company sells a version of its popular Coca-Cola in a vanilla version known as Vanilla Coke. The complaint for this class action alleges that the name and representations on the can are deceptive and misleading because the drink is not flavored exclusively with vanilla.

Coca-Cola “Vanilla” Coke Labeling New York Complaint

Case Event History

Coca-Cola “Vanilla” Coke Labeling New York Complaint

July 1, 2020

The Coca-Cola Company sells a version of its popular Coca-Cola in a vanilla version known as Vanilla Coke. The complaint for this class action alleges that the name and representations on the can are deceptive and misleading because the drink is not flavored exclusively with vanilla.

Coca-Cola “Vanilla” Coke Labeling New York Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels