Class-Action Lawsuit Alleges that Maxwell House Coffee Products Are Deceptively Advertised
On July 31, 2020, Plaintiff, on behalf of a proposed class of consumers, filed a class-action lawsuit against Defendant Kraft Heinz Company alleging that Defendant had falsely and deceptively advertised its Maxwell House ground coffee products by “grossly” exaggerating the number of cups of coffee that could be made from them.
The representations at issue covered 38 varieties of coffee products and were made in each case on the front packaging of the products. Based on the products’ instructions to use one tablespoon of ground coffee to make one 6 fluid-ounce cup of coffee, and the fact that one tablespoon of ground coffee weighed five grams, Plaintiff calculated that Defendant’s products could only produce between 66% and 73% of the represented number of cups of coffee based on the net quantity of contents of the product. The example provided in the complaint was that the product claimed to make 90 cups of coffee from a 10.5 ounce (297 gram) tin but at 5 grams per tablespoon the contents would only yield around 59 cups of coffee. Plaintiff alleged that these misrepresentations allowed Defendant to charge more for the coffee products and induced consumers to purchase them, and that it would be unreasonable to expect a consumer to calculate how many cups of the coffee the products could make.
Plaintiff’s complaint is similar to a class-action lawsuit filed in May 2020 which alleged that Folgers Coffee Company had inflated the number of cups of coffee that could be produced from its products. Keller and Heckman will continue to monitor developments in this case and trends in food class-action litigation.