Wegmans “Vanilla” Almondmilk Real Vanilla Content MD and NY Class Action

Vanilla is the only flavor with its own standards of identity. The regulations were intended to stop companies from using cheaper non-vanilla flavorings and then passing them off as vanilla. The complaint for this class action alleges that Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. label its Organic Almondmilk as “Vanilla” when it is not flavored exclusively with real vanilla.

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

On the second page of the complaint is an image of the carton for the product, bearing the words “Vanilla Almondmilk.” The complaint asserts, “The representation as ‘Vanilla’ is false, deceptive and misleading because the Product is not flavored predominantly from vanilla beans, which means it lacks the vanilla taste expected by consumers.”

Vanilla is both popular and scarce, as well as expensive. Food companies are therefore tempted to find cheaper artificial flavorings that can mimic vanilla. The first artificial flavor, the complaint says, was vanillin, identified in the 1800s.

According to the complaint, “Vanillin has long been known as an artificial flavor because it is chemically synthesized from lignin and guaiacol.” It adds, “The regulations required that when vanilla and vanillin were combined, the food [flavor should] be labeled as artificial.”

Thus, the complaint says, when consumers see the designation “Vanilla” “and the absence of any qualifying terms, they expect[] the Product to have a vanilla taste provided exclusively or predominantly from vanilla beans.”

What’s the truth about the product? The complaint reproduces its ingredient label, which lists “Natural Vanilla Flavor with Other Natural Flavors.”

The complaint says the “designation fails to tell consumers that the amount of flavoring from vanilla beans in the Product is de minimis and the ‘other natural flavors’ contain[] vanillin, an artificial flavor, which overpowers the vanilla taste.” It therefore “lacks the flavor notes and vanilla taste of foods labeled as ‘vanilla.’”

The complaint implies that the food has been tested in a lab: “Analysis of the Product reveals an abnormal excess of vanillin relative to the amount and presence of the above-described odor-active compounds in authentic vanilla, an indicator of vanillin from non-vanilla sources.”

It contends that consumers will pay more for the Product because the front label only states ‘vanilla’ and not ‘artificially flavored’…”

To sum up its contentions, it says Wegmans “branding and packaging of the Product is designed to—and does—deceive, mislead, and defraud” consumers.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Wegmans “Vanilla” Almondmilk Real Vanilla Content MD and NY Complaint

November 1, 2020

Vanilla is the only flavor with its own standards of identity. The regulations were intended to stop companies from using cheaper non-vanilla flavorings and then passing them off as vanilla. The complaint for this class action alleges that Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. label its Organic Almondmilk as “Vanilla” when it is not flavored exclusively with real vanilla.

Wegmans “Vanilla” Almondmilk Real Vanilla Content MD and NY Complaint

Case Event History

Wegmans “Vanilla” Almondmilk Real Vanilla Content MD and NY Complaint

November 1, 2020

Vanilla is the only flavor with its own standards of identity. The regulations were intended to stop companies from using cheaper non-vanilla flavorings and then passing them off as vanilla. The complaint for this class action alleges that Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. label its Organic Almondmilk as “Vanilla” when it is not flavored exclusively with real vanilla.

Wegmans “Vanilla” Almondmilk Real Vanilla Content MD and NY Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels