Ruffles Baked Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Chips New York Class Action

One variety of Ruffles Baked chips is Cheddar & Sour Cream. But what provides the sour cream flavor? The complaint for this class action alleges that this Frito-Lay, Inc. product is not flavored with natural sour cream and that the front label should disclose that it’s “artificially flavored.”

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

Consumers these days prefer natural to artificial flavorings, by a large proportion. The complaint refers to three studies that 62%, 71%, and 76% of consumers, respectively, try to avoid artificial flavors. They are willing to pay more for food that is naturally flavored, and companies are aware of this.

The complaint reproduces a photo of a bag of the Ruffles Baked chips at issue in this case. It shows an image of the chips along with a wedge of cheese and a small bowl of sour cream. The variety is indicated by the words “cheddar and sour cream,” underneath which, in smaller type, is the word “flavored.”

How is the sour cream flavor achieved? The complaint alleges that it comes from the careful souring of pasteurized cream by lactic acid, producing a substance called diacetyl, which is also “the main flavor compound in butter.” It quotes a book on The Sensory Evaluation of Dairy Products as saying that the flavor relies on a balance between “proper culture selection, close control of the lactic acid development, along with the proper composition of the cream.”

According to the Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology’s chapter on Fermented Milks, the complaint says, diacetyl is “the major flavor compound” in sour cream.

The complaint alleges, “To produce sour cream with high levels of diacetyl requires adequate citrate in the cream prior to fermentation, which is based on the diet of the cows.” According to the complaint, “cows which can graze freely on pasture—instead of feedlot—will provide the base for a sour cream which is naturally higher in diacetyl.” But this is expensive, because “pasture raised cows … require more space per cow and have longer life spans tha[n] cows who lack this benefit.”

Therefore, the complaint contends, “To produce sour cream with its essential diacetyl flavor from cows who are not provided a pasture diet requires the addition of artificial diacetyl flavor.” According to the complaint, then, “Consumers are misled by the Product’s representation as ‘Flavored’ because this gives them the impression that actual sour cream is the source of the flavor.”

In fact, the product’s ingredient list, reproduced in the complaint, shows “Artificial Flavors.” The complaint alleges that the front of the bag should disclose that the product is artificially flavored, such as by saying “Cheddar and ‘Artificial Sour Cream Flavored’” or the like.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Ruffles Baked Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Chips New York Complaint

September 11, 2020

One variety of Ruffles Baked chips is Cheddar & Sour Cream. But what provides the sour cream flavor? The complaint for this class action alleges that this Frito-Lay, Inc. product is not flavored with natural sour cream and that the front label should disclose that it’s “artificially flavored.”

Ruffles Baked Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Chips New York Complaint

Case Event History

Ruffles Baked Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Chips New York Complaint

September 11, 2020

One variety of Ruffles Baked chips is Cheddar & Sour Cream. But what provides the sour cream flavor? The complaint for this class action alleges that this Frito-Lay, Inc. product is not flavored with natural sour cream and that the front label should disclose that it’s “artificially flavored.”

Ruffles Baked Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Chips New York Complaint
Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, Does Not Admit to Artificial Flavor on Labels