Coffee Mate Natural Bliss “Vanilla” Almond Milk Flavoring New York Class Action

The Coffee Mate Natural Bliss brand, from Nestle Holdings, Inc., includes a “Vanilla” Almond Milk Creamer which purports to be “Natural.” The complaint for this class action charges that the product’s label is misleading “because the Product contains artificial, non-vanilla flavors not disclosed to consumers and less vanilla than consumers expect.”

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

Page two of the complaint shows an image of the product. The front of the bottle includes the words “Vanilla,” “Natural Flavor,” and “All Natural,” along with an image of a vanilla blossom and three vanilla bean pods.

The complaint claims that consumers prefer “foods which get their taste from a characterizing food ingredient, i.e., strawberries in a strawberry shortcake, vanilla in a vanilla pudding.”.

Natural flavors cost more, and this is especially true of vanilla, which is one of the most expensive flavorings in the world and which the complaint says “has reached record high prices in recent years.”

Vanilla is the only flavor that has its own standards of identity in the Code of Federal Regulations, which were set forth in the 1960s. The regulations are supplemented by a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Opinion and FDA-issued correspondence to govern the labeling of “vanilla” flavorings.

The complaint points to an article from the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) entitled, “Labeling Vanilla Flavorings and Vanilla-Flavored Foods in the US.” The article’s intention is to stop practices which “deprive the consumer of value the product is represented to have, and for which the consumer pays,” such as “the widespread and exceedingly serious adulteration of vanilla extracts that are now labeled ‘pure.’”

With other flavors, such as strawberry, where makers use some flavor from the characterizing ingredient and some from other natural sources, the makers are allowed to state the flavor as, for example, “Strawberry with Other Natural Flavors” (or Strawberry WONF”).

However, this is not permitted with vanilla. The complaint alleges, “The purpose of not providing for the designation of ‘Vanilla WONF’ was to prevent consumers from being misled by a small amount of vanilla, boosted by artificial vanilla flavors.” In vanilla products, then, anything other than real vanilla, the characterizing flavor, must be considered an artificial ingredient, even if it comes from originally natural sources.

The complaint also reproduces the product’s ingredient panel. In its list of ingredients, no vanilla is shown; the only ingredient that is likely to flavor the almond milk seems to be as “Natural Flavors.”

The complaint contends, “In a product with a characterizing flavor of vanilla, the designation of an ingredient as ‘natural flavor’ means it is a combination of vanilla and non-vanilla flavor, known as ‘Vanilla With Other Natural Flavors’ (‘WONF’).” Even if the flavor added is vanillin, the label must declare that the product “contains vanillin, an artificial flavor” (or flavoring).

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Coffee Mate Natural Bliss “Vanilla” Almond Milk Flavoring New York Complaint

September 14, 2020

The Coffee Mate Natural Bliss brand, from Nestle Holdings, Inc., includes a “Vanilla” Almond Milk Creamer which purports to be “Natural.” The complaint for this class action charges that the product’s label is misleading “because the Product contains artificial, non-vanilla flavors not disclosed to consumers and less vanilla than consumers expect.”

Coffee Mate Natural Bliss “Vanilla” Almond Milk Flavoring New York Complaint

Case Event History

Coffee Mate Natural Bliss “Vanilla” Almond Milk Flavoring New York Complaint

September 14, 2020

The Coffee Mate Natural Bliss brand, from Nestle Holdings, Inc., includes a “Vanilla” Almond Milk Creamer which purports to be “Natural.” The complaint for this class action charges that the product’s label is misleading “because the Product contains artificial, non-vanilla flavors not disclosed to consumers and less vanilla than consumers expect.”

Coffee Mate Natural Bliss “Vanilla” Almond Milk Flavoring New York Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels