This class action targets the Power Crunch brand bars from the Bio-Nutritional Research Group, Inc. The complaint alleges that the Power Crunch bars are misleadingly labeled because they do not contain the named or characterizing ingredients that supposedly provide the flavors.
The class for this action is consumers in all fifty states who bought any of the products containing actionable representations. Subclasses are proposed for the individual states.
The Power Crunch bars are whey protein wafer bars which come in a number of different flavors, including chocolate mint, salted caramel, French vanilla crème, and wild berry crème.
The advertising and labels make direct or indirect references to the flavors.
For example, the front of the chocolate mint bar’s label shows chocolate chip mint ice cream, chocolate chips, and mint leaves, and has a mint-colored stripe across the bottom. The images used to advertise the bar show an open package with the bar sticking out on top of a background of chocolate pieces, chocolate shards, and mint leaves.
According to the complaint, consumers thus expect the chocolate mint bar is made with mint oil.
Similarly, because of the name and visual representations, the complaint claims that consumers expect the other varieties to have specific flavoring ingredients: caramel for the salted caramel variety, vanilla flavoring or vanilla extract for the French vanilla crème variety, and wild berry puree for the wild berry crème variety.
However, the complaint alleges, they “do not contain the characterizing ingredients, shown through the ingredient lists, but contain ‘natural flavors’ and/or ‘artificial flavors.’” The complaint reproduces the four ingredient lists to show this.
But the front labels for the products do not show the words “natural flavor” or “artificial flavor.” The complaint says this misleads consumers because “they will (1) expect the Products contain an amount of the characterizing ingredients sufficient to independently characterize the Products, [and] (2) not expect the Products’ flavor to be supplied by natural and artificial flavor compounds instead of the characterizing ingredients of the food.”
The complaint says that consumer believe that “characterizing ingredients provide nutritional value and flavor, instead of the limited function of ‘natural flavor’ and ‘artificial flavor’…” This is important, the complaint says, because consumers “increasingly seek foods which incorporate ingredients in a less or minimally processed form,” believing that they are healthier and provide better nutrition.
The complaint says that proper designations for the bars would depend on what the true contents of the bars are. For example, the chocolate mint bar might be Natural Chocolate Mint Flavored Protein Energy Bar; or, if the “natural flavors” were not derived from chocolate and mint, it might be Artificially Flavored Chocolate Mint Protein Energy Bar.