Orgain “Sweet Vanilla Bean” High-Protein Milk Drink Labeling Class Action

Orgain, LLC offers what it calls an “All-in-One Nutritional Shake”—a high protein milk drink—in what it calls “Sweet Vanilla Bean Flavor.” The complaint for this class action argues that the drink “purport[s] to be flavored only with vanilla” but in reality contains little or no vanilla.

The class is all those who live in New York who bought the product during the applicable statute of limitations.

Consumers these days prefer naturally-flavored products to artificially-flavored ones, according to the complaint.

Page 2 of the complaint shows an image of a single drink container as well as one of a multi-pack of the drink. They display the words “Sweet Vanilla Bean Flavor” and images of vanilla beans and a vanilla flower.

The complaint alleges, “The unqualified, prominent and conspicuous representation as ‘Sweet Vanilla Bean Flavor’ is false, deceptive and misleading because the product contains a trace or a de minimis amount of vanilla from real vanilla beans from the vanilla plant, and the presence of vanillin and other artificial flavors is not disclosed to consumes where they are expecting to see it on the front of the product.”

Real vanilla is an expensive flavoring, the complaint says, and recent natural disasters have caused vanilla shortages. The flavor of real vanilla cannot be duplicated by science, since it is made up of more than 200 identified compounds.

Vanilla is the only flavor with its own standard of identity in federal regulations. These regulations have been in force for over fifty years. The complaint explains it this way: “Vanilla has specific labeling requirements because it is uniquely vulnerable to being adulterated, [as] the most popular and one of [the] most costly flavorings.”

The complaint quotes FEMA, the trade group for the flavor industry, as saying that a product label that represents a food or drink as being “vanilla” flavor, with no qualifications, “lead[s] consumers to believe it is flavored with vanilla extract, or another vanilla flavoring derived solely from vanilla beans, as defined in the federal standard of identity…”

The complaint also reproduces the ingredient panel from the Orgain product. This lists no vanilla ingredients at all; it shows only “Organic Natural Flavor” for the protein drink and “Natural Flavor” for a “Fruit and Vegetable Blend” version. The complaint contends that if the flavor was “derived exclusively or even predominantly from vanilla sources … it would only list ‘vanilla extract.’”

According to the complaint, “The product contains an abnormal excess of vanillin relative to the profile of minor components in a vanilla preparation, which is a strong indicator it contains vanillin from non-vanilla sources.” Under the vanilla rules, “vanillin from non-vanilla sources” must be declared as an artificial flavor, even if the sources are originally “natural.”

In addition, the product contains maltol and piperonal, which the complaint claims are considered artificial flavors.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Orgain “Sweet Vanilla Bean” High-Protein Milk Drink Labeling Complaint

October 9, 2020

Orgain, LLC offers what it calls an “All-in-One Nutritional Shake”—a high protein milk drink—in what it calls “Sweet Vanilla Bean Flavor.” The complaint for this class action argues that the drink “purport[s] to be flavored only with vanilla” but in reality contains little or no vanilla.

Orgain “Sweet Vanilla Bean” High-Protein Milk Drink Labeling Complaint

Case Event History

Orgain “Sweet Vanilla Bean” High-Protein Milk Drink Labeling Complaint

October 9, 2020

Orgain, LLC offers what it calls an “All-in-One Nutritional Shake”—a high protein milk drink—in what it calls “Sweet Vanilla Bean Flavor.” The complaint for this class action argues that the drink “purport[s] to be flavored only with vanilla” but in reality contains little or no vanilla.

Orgain “Sweet Vanilla Bean” High-Protein Milk Drink Labeling Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels