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Wholesome Pantry “Vanilla”Almondmilk Pennsylvania Class Action

Wakefern Food Corporation makes food and beverages for its Wholesome Pantry brand, including a “vanilla” almondmilk drink. The complaint for this class action alleges that the company misrepresents the flavor of its almondmilk, because the labeling implies that the “vanilla” flavor comes from vanilla beans.

The class for this action is all persons who bought the product at issue within Pennsylvania and within the applicable statute of limitations.

Page 18 of the complaint shows an image of the almondmilk carton. The word “Vanilla” is prominently displayed, in a bold font. Lower down on the carton is a vanilla blossom and two vanilla bean pods. These also appear on the top panels and at least one side panel of the carton. The product also claims to be “free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.”

However, the complaint alleges that the almondmilk does contain artificial flavor, including artificial vanillin.

The ingredient panel shows no vanilla extract, only “Natural Flavor.” The complaint alleges, “In addition to containing artificial flavor, the Product lacks the expected vanilla taste because vanillin is not synonymous with vanilla, due to the absence of the critical odor-active compounds which contribute to the flavor of vanilla.”

The complaint claims that, in the food industry, certain wordings refer to specific kinds of flavorings. “For instance, ‘natural vanilla flavor’ often refers to ‘vanilla extracted from wood.’” In this case, the designation is “Natural flavor,” which the complaint alleges means just a trace amount of natural vanilla plus other flavorings that simulate vanilla.

The complaint states that, in this product, the “‘Natural Flavor’ contains added artificial vanillin yet fails to disclose it separately.”

Even more pointedly, it alleges, “Although the flavoring used to simulate the Product’s characterizing vanilla flavor is (1) not from vanilla beans, (2) from an artificial petrochemical source and (3) made through an artificial process, [Wakefern] pretends otherwise, conflating the natural and artificial flavoring and deceiving customers.”

Vanilla is subject to federal standards of identity, so the rules for labeling are a little different than those for most other flavors.

The complaint claims that the only “natural vanillin” comes from the vanilla plant, so that vanillin from other non-natural sources is by definition artificial. “Because the Product contains artificial flavor that ‘simulates, resembles or reinforces the characterizing flavor’” the complaint alleges, “the front label is required to state, ‘Artificially Flavored.’”

Thus the complaint claims that the company has “misrepresented the Product through affirmative statements and omissions.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Wholesome Pantry “Vanilla”Almondmilk Pennsylvania Complaint

March 29, 2021

Wakefern Food Corporation makes food and beverages for its Wholesome Pantry brand, including a “vanilla” almondmilk drink. The complaint for this class action alleges that the company misrepresents the flavor of its almondmilk, because the labeling implies that the “vanilla” flavor comes from vanilla beans.

Wholesome Pantry “Vanilla”Almondmilk Pennsylvania Complaint

Case Event History

Wholesome Pantry “Vanilla”Almondmilk Pennsylvania Complaint

March 29, 2021

Wakefern Food Corporation makes food and beverages for its Wholesome Pantry brand, including a “vanilla” almondmilk drink. The complaint for this class action alleges that the company misrepresents the flavor of its almondmilk, because the labeling implies that the “vanilla” flavor comes from vanilla beans.

Wholesome Pantry “Vanilla”Almondmilk Pennsylvania Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels