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Kind Bars “Whole Fruit,” “No Added Sugar” Claims New York Class Action

Cherry Apple Kind Bar

The complaint for this class action alleges that Kind, LLC presents Kind bars as being made from, or equivalent to, whole fruits. However, it says, this is simply not possible and that the company does it to make its products seem fresher, healthier, and worth higher prices.

The class for this action is all New York consumers who bought any of the products at issue with actionable representations during the statutes of limitations.

Kind, LLC makes fruit bars and pieces. A number are at issue here:

  • Bars: Mango Apple, Strawberry Apple, Pineapple Coconut, Cherry Apple, Apricot Pear, Pineapple Banana
  • Pieces: Cherry Apple, Cherry Strawberry Apple, Mango Apple

The ingredient panels implies that the products are made of whole fruit. For example, the panel for the cherry apple bar lists the ingredients as “cherry, apple, chia seeds.” The complaint reproduces other images and labels that compare the products to whole fruits. But the complaint claims that this is deceptive.

Federal regulations require that ingredients be listed by their specific names rather than their collective names. For example, a can of tomato sauce will list its ingredients as “Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Diced Tomatoes” and not simply as “Tomatoes.” The complaint says this is because “tomato puree is a different product from tomato sauce and there are differences in the functional, sensory, textural, organoleptic, nutrient and other properties between the specific form of the ingredient (i.e. tomato paste) and the collective name (tomato).”

How do we know the ingredients are not whole? The complaint says, “The United States does not product or process tropical fruits other than small amounts of mango (Florida) and pineapple (Hawaii).” It notes, “Fruit processing typically occurs near where the fruits are harvested, due to … minimal deterioration between harvest and processing … and because it is not cost-effective to import fresh tropical fruit and process it in the importing company.” The complaint adds, “There also would be no way to utilize the many byproducts of tropical fruits, which are necessary for profitable operation.”

As to the “no added sugars” claims, the complaint examines the drying process for fruit. It claims that some fruits, such as pineapple, are dried with a process that adds sugar to help preserve the fruit. To support this, it looks at the sugars in the cherry apple bites, which are supposedly made from tart cherries. According to the complaint, perhaps Kind did not add sugars, but in that case, the ingredients it used were not whole ingredients.

Also, the complaint claims that the drying process for mangoes includes infusion with ascorbic acid. It supports this by looking at the vitamin C content in the mango apple bar, which is higher than it could be if the bar was made from whole fresh fruit. 

The complaint alleges violation of New York’s General Business Law, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud, among other things.

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