Kellog’s is Being Slapped With a 5 Million Dollar Lawsuit
Kellog’s, a favored cereal company of many, is being slapped with a 5 million dollar lawsuit. In this article we will explain why.
Kellogg’s is a popular American-based food company that is headquartered in Battle Creek, Michigan, United States. It produces well-loved cereals and other foods, such as crackers and toaster pastries loved by children all over the world. Some well-known Kellogg’s brand food selections and cereals include Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes, Pringles, Eggos, and Cheez-Its.
Kellogg’s statement defining their popular cereal company reads “Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive.” Over 180 countries around the world market Kellogg’s world-famous food products in their stores.
Founded in 1898, Kellog’s Company has been a household cereal for many families all around the globe for over a century. Filling the table with famous cereals such as Kellog’s All-bran, Raison-Bran and Froot-Loops. According to their website,
“They proudly uphold the values W.K. Kellog instilled more than 100 years ago, but now they’re doing it in 180 countries across the world. Their mission is to provide families with better breakfasts that lead to better days, and they flake corn the same way W.K. did back in 1988. It just tastes better that way.”
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Details of this 5 Million Dollar Lawsuit
Kellogg’s Food Company is being slapped with a 5 million dollar lawsuit against them. A woman from New York is suing Kellog’s for $5 million dollars! She claims the company’s Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts product does not have enough strawberries in the filling. Furthermore, she claims the product’s title, “Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts,” is also misleading because the pop-tarts contain mostly non-strawberry ingredients inside their strawberry filling.
The list of leading ingredients found in “Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts” includes dried pears, dried apples and vegetable juices. The lawsuit claims that this also violates federal consumer protection laws. According to the lawsuit, Kellog’s also uses paprika extract colouring to give the “Strawberry Pop Tarts” their vibrant red colouring. This is not strawberries and therefore, claiming that the well-loved strawberry pop-tart filling is made of strawberries is also misleading to consumers.
The complainant, Elizabeth Russett of Dutchess County in New York, claims that she would never have bought the strawberry Pop-Tarts if she knew the whole truth about them.
In August, Spencer Sheehan filed a similar law-suit against Kellog’s Food Corporation in Illinois, United States. Both women are being represented by the same attorney, Spencer Sheehan and Associates from Long Island, New York. Sheehan is well-known for frequently filing lawsuits against major food corporations. His firm alone has filed the most food related lawsuits in the past two years than any other law firm in federal courts.
“A reasonable consumer knows that this is a toaster pastry, a quarter-inch thick. We know we’re dealing with filling going into a pastry,” Sheehan said. “Of that fruit filling, they should be able to expect that it’s mainly strawberry.”
“Strawberries are the world’s most popular berry fruit,” the complainant states. Russet, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, further stated that she, “likes strawberries for the same reason, they are America’s number one berry fruit.”
Kellogg’s “Whole Grain Frosted Blueberry Pop-Tarts” also contains other fruits such as grapes and apples besides their main namesake ingredient. However, this is acceptable because the company’s front labels are marked clearly on the packaging “Naturally and Artificially Flavored,” Sheehan explained. He further stated,
“Kellogg’s could add a similar disclaimer to its ‘Strawberry Pop-Tarts’, such as marking the box as ‘mixed fruit’ on the label or by including the actual percentage of each fruit.”
“Consumers deserve to know that when they see something labeled as ‘strawberry,’ it mainly contains strawberries. Words have to have some meaning,” Sheehan explained in the hearing.
This lawsuit, filed in August of this year, argues that Kellogg’s Company has deceived its consumers by its name choice of a “strawberry-flavored Pop-Tart” product when, in fact, it is not actually made from just strawberries.
By claiming that this product contains a strawberry filling, the lawsuit believes that the company gives a false impression of “a greater relative and absolute amount of strawberries than it actually does.”
In reality, “Strawberry Pop-Tarts” actually only contain two percent or less of “dried strawberries, dried pears, and dried apples” according to the product’s description of nutritional information on the packaging.
For this reason, lawyers for the plaintiff argue that the Pop-Tarts “cannot provide a true strawberry taste,” because in reality, they actually contain other fruits, and they further explained that consumers are being given a “false impression” of the true flavor of “Strawberry Pop-Tarts” because of the red food coloring used in the Pop Tarts as apposed to real strawberry filling.
The lawsuit, filed in August, also argues that Kellogg’s has been misleading its customers about the name of its strawberry-flavored Pop-Tart product.
By promoting a strawberry filling, it says that the company gives an impression of “a greater relative and an absolute amount of strawberries than it actually does.”
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Other Lawsuits Associated with Kellog’s Company
This is not the first lawsuit that has been thrown at the popular cereal brand, Kellog’s. Company There has also been another 20 million dollar class-action lawsuit against Kellogg’s for allegedly violating laws by false labeling at least three of their cereals with deceptive nutritional facts. The class action lawsuit, filed in 2016, accused Kellog’s Company of false advertising for some of its popular breakfast cereals that had statements that included “lightly sweetened” or ” heart healthy” on their packaging.
Kellogg’s is also being accused of actively engaging in false advertising by indicating that its products are healthy, whereas the plaintiff in this case argued the cereal products actually contain a high level of added sugar in them.
The lawsuits include three well-known cereal brands which contain the words, “Heart Healthy” and “Lightly Sweetened.” Upon further investigation into the matter, the plaintiff in this lawsuit also claims that the three cereals with these labels have no sign of health benefits or specific ingredients to reduce the amount of sugar contained in them.
The three cereals involved in this whopping multi-million settlement are;
- Original Raison Bran and Kellog’s Raison Bran Crunch Cereals. The package stated “Heart Healthy
- Smart Start Original Antioxidants Cereal. The package stated ‘Heart Healthy’ and ‘Lightly Sweetened.’
- Frosted Mini Wheats. The package stated ‘Lightly Sweetened.’
Although Kellog’s Company denied all of the accusations against them in these particular allegations, both parties agreed to a settlement offer of 13 million dollars to avoid future litigation costs. Kellog’s Company also agreed to remove their misleading health statements from their cereal packaging of the three cereals that were involved in the lawsuit.
In February 2020, the U.S. District Judge, Lucy H. Koh declined to approve the proposed settlement in this case. She concluded that the facts in the matter were not proven to be “fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable.”
The Judge in this case also concluded that the evidence submitted contained “numerous errors that resulted in inadequate disclosure of various aspects of the settlement to class numbers.”
The lawsuit included anyone who may have purchased one of the products associated with the case within the United States for household use between August 29, 2012 to May 1, 2020.
Products in This Lawsuit
Products included in this case were:
- “Kellog’s Original Raison Bran, and Raison Bran Crunch in a package stating “heart healthy”
- “Kellog’s Smart Start Antixidants cereal in a package stating “heart healthy” or “lightly sweetened”
- “Kellog’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size (Original Maple Brown Sugar, Strawberry, or Blueberry varieties)”
- “Big Bites (Original variety)”
- “Little Bites ( Chocolate or Cinnamon Roll varieties)”
- “Touch of Fruit in the Middle (Mixed Berry, and Raspberry varieties)”
- Any other cereal in packaging not previously mentioned that contains the words ‘lightly sweetened”
The settlement predicts an average payout of $16.09 to each class action member. Members interested in filing a claim in this class action lawsuit need to fill out a claim form before May 2021 in order to receive their approved payment. This particular class action lawsuit is now closed for any consumers who have not yet submitted their claim.
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Striking Employees Adds Turmoil to the Lawsuit
Meanwhile, Kellog’s company’s employees are further adding turmoil to the lawsuit. They are striking to put a stop to the reduction of hourly wages, and cuts in their benefits, pension plans, retirement and healthcare benefits for their lower-waged employees.
Kellogg’s stocks have drastically dipped by nearly a dollar this past week as the lawsuits plague the popular cereal company. The stocks have continuously fallen over the past 10 days. This has caused a total loss of 1.64% for the cereal brand Kellog’s Company.
Striking Kellogg’s employees have begun their fourth week of strikes since they initially walked off their jobs. Several of the workers on the picket lines are really feeling the severity of the cash crunch from a loss of income during the strike. Workers hope and pray that negotiations will resume shortly. They want to get back to work as usual before the crunch at Christmas time really affects their family lifestyles.
A Kellogg’s spokesperson reached out to its union leaders earlier this week to request that negotiations on the strike resume immediately. It has been going on since early October and it’s time for an end. According to news reports, the union leaders have not yet responded to the request.
“As we have stated from the beginning, the Company is willing to consider any proposals from the Union including proposals that would preserve a pathway for transitional to legacy wages and benefits. At the end of the day, we have a responsibility to these employees, which is to engage in good faith bargaining toward a replacement agreement that gets them back to work,” a Kellogg’s spokesperson replied in an email to union leaders.
Kellogg’s employees are striking to put a stop to the reduction of hourly wages, and cuts in their benefits, pension plans, and retirement and healthcare benefits for their lower-waged employees.
Kellog’s brand Strawberry Pop-Tarts have a strawberry colored filling that is said to be filled with strawberries. However, in reality, it is actually filled with only 2% real strawberries. The rest of the filling is made with other kinds of fruits and red-colored alternatives. The strawberry filling inside Kellog’s pop-tarts includes apples and pears to make the popular, well-loved breakfast food’s interior.
Attorneys compare the “Strawberry Pop’Tart’s” to Dollar Tree and Walmart toaster pastries, which have been marketing their brands of pop-tarts that announce they are made up of “naturally and artificially flavored” ingredients. Kellogg’s Company, however, has not included such a phrase in its own version of Pop-Tart boxes which, according to the plaintiff, leads to “false and deceptive” marketing that is in strict violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. This is mostly due to the fact that it has a strong influence on the consumers’ decision to purchase the product with inaccuracies in the boxes product description.
Russet is not completely alone in her allegations against Kellog’s company. As of October 2021, at least two other lawsuits in the United States have also been filed against “Kellogg’s Strawberry Pop-Tarts.” The main concern in each of these similar lawsuits is that the pop-tarts do not contain enough actual strawberries inside their filling,
For extreme Pop-Tarts lovers, these litigations are completely real to them. “There’s apple and pear in strawberry Pop-Tarts?” Sam Han, a Los Angeles-area messenger told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s like you just told me there’s no Santa Claus.”
The recent litigations, however, are not enough to make him give up one of his favorite breakfast treats. “When you eat a Pop-Tart, “you know it isn’t organic or vegan.”
In conclusion, while many consumers find themselves wondering exactly how many strawberries are inside the famous “Kellog’s Strawberry Pop-Tarts.” Or perhaps they may be wondering whether or not Kellog’s cereal brands that contain the words, “Heart Healthy” and “Lightly Sweetened” are actually healthy for them. Lawsuits are guilty of a much larger and a more widespread problem…
Food companies are continuously using potentially misleading advertising to gain profit for their corporations. Food companies are making their products seem better to consumers than they actually are. They are purposely omitting the true facts on their packaging and labels. This in itself is misleading to the consumer, yet it continues to happen over and over again in today’s competitive food markets.
Competition in Today’s Food Markets
In today’s competitive food markets, both the buyers and sellers enjoy freedom. This is the very center of these competitive food markets. These freedoms include the following;
- Consumers have a right to freely choose what products they want to buy.
- New corporations can easily enter into any market.
- Producers can decide what products they want to make.
- Both buyers and sellers have freedom of choice.
After knowing these freedoms exist, you can easily learn why competition is so important in food markets. This further explains why Kellog’s is being slapped with a 5 million dollar lawsuit against them. This problem will continue to exist in the future as long as competition remains between large corporations.
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