This lawsuit claims that Newman’s Own unlawfully, fraudulently, unfairly, and deceptively represented that its pasta sauce products are “All Natural” when they contain citric acid, a non-natural, chemically processed ingredient.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “natural” as “existing in nature and not made or caused by people; coming from nature” and “not having any extra substances or chemicals added; and not containing anything artificial.” They further define “synthetic” as made by combining different substances; not natural,” and “artificial” as “not natural or real.” The term “natural” certainly does not apply to products that contain artificial or synthetic ingredients, but citric acid is certainly artificial and synthetic.
In food products, the term “natural” only applies to those products that contain no natural or synthetic ingredients and consist entirely of ingredients that are only minimally processed. Newman’s Own deceptively used the term “natural” to describe products containing ingredients that have been either extensively chemically processed or fundamentally altered from their natural state and cannot be considered “minimally processed. Over 17 different types of pasta sauce containing citric acid have been produced by Newman’s Own and then marketed as “All Natural.”
In a survey conducted by the Shelton Group in 2009, the most popular food label among consumers was “100% Natural.” “All natural ingredients” was the second most popular food label. While food manufacturers have sought to capitalize on this fast-growing market for natural products, not all manufacturers truthfully represent the nature and quality of their products. Often, they cut corners and then deceptively label their food as “natural” to increase profits at the expense of consumers.
Based on the facts of the case, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit allege that Newman’s Own violated the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, committed negligent misrepresentation, breached express warranties, and were unjustly enriched at the expense of consumers.