Wholesome Pantry “Vanilla” Coconutmilk Drink Labeling Class Action

The Wholesome Pantry brand offers a “Vanilla” Coconutmilk drink. This class action brings suit against the brand’s owner, Wakefern Food Corporation, alleging that the drink 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.

These days, consumers would rather buy naturally-flavored products than artificially-flavored ones, and they are willing to pay more for them.

Page 2 of the complaint shows an image of the drink which prominently features the words “Vanilla” and “No Artificial Colors, Flavors or Preservatives,” along with images of an open coconut, vanilla beans, and a vanilla flower.

The complaint alleges, “The unqualified, prominent and conspicuous representation as ‘Vanilla’ 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, and the complaint says that 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, which was established over fifty years ago.

The complaint refers to a paper from John B. Hallagan and Joanna Drake, “Labeling Vanilla Flavorings and Vanilla-Flavored Foods in the U.S.,” as saying that a product labeled 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 Wholesome Pantry product. This lists no vanilla ingredients at all; it shows only “Natural Flavors.”

The complaint asserts that this means that the “vanilla taste is not derived exclusively or even predominantly from vanilla sources because if it [were], 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 when paired with vanilla.” The front label must then state that the product is “artificially flavored.”

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

Wholesome Pantry “Vanilla” Coconutmilk Drink Labeling Complaint

October 12, 2020

The Wholesome Pantry brand offers a “Vanilla” Coconutmilk drink. This class action brings suit against the brand’s owner, Wakefern Food Corporation, alleging that the drink drink “purport[s] to be flavored only with vanilla” but in reality contains little or no vanilla.

Wholesome Pantry “Vanilla” Coconutmilk Drink Labeling Complaint

Case Event History

Wholesome Pantry “Vanilla” Coconutmilk Drink Labeling Complaint

October 12, 2020

The Wholesome Pantry brand offers a “Vanilla” Coconutmilk drink. This class action brings suit against the brand’s owner, Wakefern Food Corporation, alleging that the drink drink “purport[s] to be flavored only with vanilla” but in reality contains little or no vanilla.

Wholesome Pantry “Vanilla” Coconutmilk Drink Labeling Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels