Class-Action Alleges that Carrot Cake Containing “Natural and Artificial Flavor” is Deceptively Advertised
On August 9, 2020, a class action lawsuit was filed against Hostess Brands, LLC, alleging that the company had deceptively marketed its product as a “carrot cake donette” when in fact it contained no real carrots.
Plaintiffs alleged that consumers would expect the product to contain real carrots because it was described as a “carrot cake” without qualifying this name with any of the terms prescribed by the flavoring regulation (e.g. “flavored, naturally flavored, artificially flavored”). They further alleged that it was apparent that the product did not contain any real carrots because the ingredient list did not disclose carrots and instead disclosed that the product contained “natural and artificial flavor.” Plaintiffs alleged that the “natural flavor” meant that at best the product contained an ingredient derived from real carrots, and that, in any case, consumers would not expect the product to contain any “artificial flavor.”
Plaintiffs are represented by Sheehan & Associates P.C. which has filed many lawsuits in the food flavoring litigation space, in particular against companies marketing vanilla products. Keller & Heckman will continue to monitor and provide updates regarding class-action litigation in the food industry.