Lawsuit Alleges Plant Butter Deceptively Labeled
A class-action lawsuit has alleged that Upfield US Inc. deceptively labeled its “Country Crock Plant Butter” as “Made with Almond Oil” and with images of almonds on the principal display panel when it in fact contained a blend of four plant-based oils, with almond butter declared as the fourth most predominant ingredient (and oil) on the ingredient list (after palm fruit oil, palm kernel oil, and canola oil).
The complaint alleged that almonds and almond oils have various health benefits and a pleasant taste, and that Defendant sought to take advantage of consumer demand through its “Made with Almond Oil” labeling. Further, it alleged that consumers would expect a “non-de minimis amount of almond oil, in relative and absolute amounts to all oils used” and that the declaration of almond oil on the ingredient list as the fourth most predominant ingredient (and oil) “reveals a negligible amount of almond oil in relative and absolute amounts to all oils used.”
Since an ingredient list reveals only the relative amount of ingredients, it is not clear how it can be claimed that almond oil is present in a de-minimis amount. Furthermore, the complaint, which is another filed by Spencer Sheehan, will face an uphill battle given other court rulings which have dismissed similar lawsuits where the defendant did not make a claim about the relative proportion of ingredients and accurately disclosed the ingredients on the ingredient list.