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Duncan Hines Chewy “Fudge” Brownie Mix Ingredients Class Action

Conagra Brands, Inc. owns the Duncan Hines line of baking mixes. Among its products is the Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix. The complaint for this class action claims that the representations for the product are misleading, “because they give consumers the impression it contains a greater relative and absolute amount of the expected fudge and fudge ingredients than it does.”

Two classes have been defined for this action:

  • The Illinois Class is all persons in Illinois who bought the product during the applicable statutes of limitations.
  • The Consumer Fraud Multi-State Class is all persons in Iowa and Arkansas who bought the product during the applicable statutes of limitations.

The complaint reviews recipes for and definitions of fudge to demonstrate that its usual ingredients are sugar, butter, and milk. “The quality of fudge depends on the amount and type of fat-contributing ingredients[,]” the complaint alleges.

The fat ingredients in fudge can come from milk fat in dairy products, such as butter, or from vegetable oils. Dairy ingredients give fudge a rich, creamy taste; the complaint says that “milk[ ]fat contains hundreds of lactones, aroma compounds which contribute to its taste.” Milk fat melts at around mouth temperature.

However, quality suffers if vegetable oils are used. They are solid at room temperature and do not melt at mouth temperature. They therefore give fudge a waxy mouthfeel. Vegetable oils are not intended to contribute flavor to fudge, because, the complaint says, they are supposedly “refined, bleached and deodorized.” Unfortunately, they sometimes do end up contributing in a negative way, the complaint claims: “However, these ingredients are subject to reversion where they contribute off-odors to foods.”

Consumers prefer milk fat, the complaint claims, because it tastes better and because vegetable oils are linked to health problems, like increased risk of heart disease, and because milk fat contains fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K.

The front label of the Duncan Hines product, as shown on page 1 of the complaint, calls the product Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix. But the complaint claims the front label should contain a statement such as “Contains No Fudge” or “No Dairy Ingredients” in order to comply with state and federal labeling laws. The complaint reproduces the ingredient panel, showing that the product does not contain any dairy or milk fat products but only “Vegetable Shortening (Palm Oil).”

This is because, the complaint alleges, “[t]he Product lacks essential fudge ingredients—dairy ingredients with milk[ ]fat—and substitutes lower[-]quality and lower-priced palm oil…” It reproduces the ingredient panel, which shows “Palm Oil,” “Corn Syrup,” and “Canola Oil.” The complaint alleges that this oil is lower-quality and lower-priced than fat ingredients like butter or cream.

The complaint alleges that “[r]easonable consumers are misled by” the name Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix and the words “Thick and Fudgy” on the box front, “because they expect this means a non-de-minimis relative amount of dairy ingredients containing milk fat.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Duncan Hines Chewy “Fudge” Brownie Mix Ingredients Complaint

September 4, 2021

Conagra Brands, Inc. owns the Duncan Hines line of baking mixes. Among its products is the Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix. The complaint for this class action claims that the representations for the product are misleading, “because they give consumers the impression it contains a greater relative and absolute amount of the expected fudge and fudge ingredients than it does.”

Duncan Hines Chewy “Fudge” Brownie Mix Ingredients Complaint

Case Event History

Duncan Hines Chewy “Fudge” Brownie Mix Ingredients Complaint

September 4, 2021

Conagra Brands, Inc. owns the Duncan Hines line of baking mixes. Among its products is the Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix. The complaint for this class action claims that the representations for the product are misleading, “because they give consumers the impression it contains a greater relative and absolute amount of the expected fudge and fudge ingredients than it does.”

Duncan Hines Chewy “Fudge” Brownie Mix Ingredients Complaint
Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, Does Not Contain Implied Ingredients