Smucker’s Caramel Flavored Syrup Labeling Class Action

A number of recent class actions has addressed the flavoring and labeling of “vanilla” products, such as vanilla ice cream or vanilla almondmilk. This class action, from the same law firm as the “vanilla” ones, is somewhat more intricate. It concerns caramel syrup from the JM Smucker Company (or Smucker’s brand caramel syrup), discusses “vanilla notes” in its flavoring, and whether the vanillin in it should require the label designation that it’s “artificially flavored.”

The classes for this action are all those who bought the product in New York and the other forty-nine states during the applicable statute of limitations and a national class where applicable.

The complaint reproduces an image of the Smucker’s brand caramel syrup, which shows a scoop of vanilla ice cream with caramel syrup running over it and, behind that, what may be a vanilla milkshake laced with caramel syrup. The flavor designation on the label is “Caramel Flavored Syrup.”

Caramel syrup is made from “granulated sugar cooked until it caramelizes, combined with butter, heavy cream and vanilla extract,” the complaint says, and further notes, “The type of caramel flavor depends on its intended usage, such that a caramel flavor may have more than one recognizable flavoring notes, i.e., ‘buttery,’ ‘maple,’ and/or ‘vanilla.’” It claims that the Smucker’s product is “shown by its front label images to be an addition to vanilla ice cream and a vanilla milkshake.”

How does this all fit together? The complaint goes on to say, “Vanilla is known to produce a sensation of creaminess, which enhances the smoothness and richness as part of a caramel flavor…. Reasonable consumers will expect defendant’s Caramel Flavored Syrup to have strong vanilla notes.”

The complaint argues that vanilla notes are part of the dominant or ideal characteristics of a caramel flavor and that, “given the depiction of use with vanilla ice cream and a vanilla milkshake, consumers will expect it to have vanilla notes which contribute to its characterizing caramel flavor.”

The ingredient panel for the product lists “Vanillin (Artificial Flavor).” The complaint claims that “If a product contains ‘any artificial flavor which simulates, resembles or reinforces the characterizing flavor,’ it must be identified in the flavor designation on the front label.”

From this it argues, “Because vanilla is known for enhancing the flavor of caramel, it is misleading to not designate the product as ‘Artificially Flavored Caramel Syrup.’” Further, it says, “By not identifying the Product as being artificially flavored, consumers will expect the Product only contains natural flavors, which are preferred…”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Smucker’s Caramel Flavored Syrup Labeling Complaint

April 24, 2020

A number of recent class actions has addressed the flavoring and labeling of “vanilla” products, such as vanilla ice cream or vanilla almondmilk. This class action, from the same law firm as the “vanilla” ones, is somewhat more intricate. It concerns caramel syrup from the JM Smucker Company (or Smucker’s brand caramel syrup), discusses “vanilla notes” in its flavoring, and whether the vanillin in it should require the label designation that it’s “artificially flavored.”

Smucker’s Caramel Flavored Syrup Labeling Complaint

Case Event History

Smucker’s Caramel Flavored Syrup Labeling Complaint

April 24, 2020

A number of recent class actions has addressed the flavoring and labeling of “vanilla” products, such as vanilla ice cream or vanilla almondmilk. This class action, from the same law firm as the “vanilla” ones, is somewhat more intricate. It concerns caramel syrup from the JM Smucker Company (or Smucker’s brand caramel syrup), discusses “vanilla notes” in its flavoring, and whether the vanillin in it should require the label designation that it’s “artificially flavored.”

Smucker’s Caramel Flavored Syrup Labeling Complaint
Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, Does Not Admit to Artificial Flavor on Labels