AriZona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey is a popular product that its makers claim is “America’s best-selling green tea.” The ginseng is supposed to provide energy. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that it does not contain “any detectible amounts of ginseng[.]” It brings suit against the companies involved—Beverage Marketing USA, Inc., Honell Brewing Co., Inc., and various AriZona companies.
The class for this action is all persons who, between April 1, 2015 and the present, bought the gallon jug or 23-ounce can of AriZona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey in California.
Ginseng is expensive. The complaint says, “Over the past decade, demand for ginseng has skyrocketed while supply has dwindled, causing prices to surge above $1,000 per pound. Ginseng is so coveted in the marketplace that certain species of ginseng have been harvested to the edge of extinction.” It would thus be expensive to put a significant amount of ginseng in the drink.
The market for non-alcoholic drinks is competitive. The Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey product combines two consumer trends, a desire for healthier products and a craving for energy drinks. The drink is specifically marketed for this. The complaint quotes the back label of the gallon jug and 23-ounce containers as saying, “AriZona Green Tea… Where great taste and goodness ‘naturally’ come together: Green tea for its health benefits, Ginseng for energy and nature’s natural sweetener, honey.”
The company website also claims that the product contains “just the right amount of ginseng[.]”
However, the complaint says this is false. The attorneys in this case gave samples to two different food laboratories to conduct three tests for ginsenosides, which is “the main chemical constituent of ginseng.” The complaint claims that the tests were very sensitive, but that “none of the three tests were able to detect any amount of ginsenosides in the Product.”
The complaint concludes, “Thus, the testing confirmed that the Product contains either no ginseng at all, or, at best, an amount of ginseng that is so miniscule that it cannot be detected even by scientific tests and could not provide energy to a consumer.”
In contrast, the complaint says, lab test of competing products, from makers like Republic of Tea and Starbucks, show that these do contain ginseng.
The complaint brings suit under California laws, including its Consumer Legal Remedies Act, its False Advertising law, and laws on fraud and negligent misrepresentation, among other things.