Lidl “Vanilla Bean” Ice Cream Misleadingly Labeled New York Class Action

At issue in this class action are the “vanilla” representations made on the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream made and sold by Lidl US, LLC. The complaint contends that the company
Improperly labels and markets the ice cream, presenting consumers with the impression that it contains more vanilla than it does.

The class for this action is all purchasers of the product who live in New York during the applicable statute of limitations.

On its second page, the complaint reproduces an image of the ice cream carton’s front label. Among the representations there are the product name, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, the words “Made With Natural Vanilla Flavor” and “No Artificial Flavors,” and images of vanilla beans and a vanilla flower and two ice cream cones with scoops of yellowish ice cream with dark specks.

What’s wrong with this? The complaint alleges, “The representations are misleading because the Product contains artificial vanilla flavors not disclosed to consumers, [it contains] less vanilla than consumers expect and the vanilla bean specks do not contribute any vanilla taste.”

The complaint says Nielsen reports that 62% of consumers try to avoid artificial flavors. It also quotes a study by New Hope Network, saying that “71% of consumers today are avoiding artificial flavors.” And Label Insight finds that 76% of consumers avoid products with artificial flavors.

The problem is that real vanilla is popular but scarce and expensive. Also, vanilla is the only flavoring with its own standard of identity in federal regulations. This standard, the complaint says, was established in the 1960s to stop companies from fooling consumers with products that were not flavored with real vanilla but cheaper ingredients instead. Ice cream also has distinctive flavoring requirements.

The complaint quotes the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) as saying, about ice cream flavors, “Flavors which are derived from natural sources other than the characterizing flavor and simulate, resemble or reinforce the characterizing flavor, are considered artificial flavors.” The complaint interprets this: “This means that non-vanilla flavors that simulate vanilla are considered ‘artificial flavors’ in a product labeled as ‘vanilla (bean) ice cream.’”

The ingredient panel lists “Natural Vanilla Flavor,” but the complaint alleges that this “is an ingredient which is different than the exclusively vanilla ingredients, which [should be] listed as ‘vanilla extract’ or ‘vanilla flavoring.’” The complaint contends that the “Natural Vanilla Flavoring” listed contains added vanillin. How do we know? The complaint claims it has been demonstrated by “gas chromatography-mass spectrometry … analysis performed on the Product.”

The complaint thus asserts that the ice cream’s characterizing flavor should be preceded by the words “artificial” or “artificially flavored.”

Finally, the complaint alleges that the black specks come from “spent vanilla bean pods” which are “exhausted” because all the flavor has already been extracted.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Lidl “Vanilla Bean” Ice Cream Misleadingly Labeled New York Complaint

August 8, 2020

At issue in this class action are the “vanilla” representations made on the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream made and sold by Lidl US, LLC. The complaint contends that the company improperly labels and markets the ice cream, presenting consumers with the impression that it contains more vanilla than it does.

Lidl “Vanilla Bean” Ice Cream Misleadingly Labeled New York Complaint

Case Event History

Lidl “Vanilla Bean” Ice Cream Misleadingly Labeled New York Complaint

August 8, 2020

At issue in this class action are the “vanilla” representations made on the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream made and sold by Lidl US, LLC. The complaint contends that the company improperly labels and markets the ice cream, presenting consumers with the impression that it contains more vanilla than it does.

Lidl “Vanilla Bean” Ice Cream Misleadingly Labeled New York Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels