The complaint for this class action makes a complex calculation of the ingredients in Premier Nutrition Corporation’s PowerBar brand Clean Whey Protein Bar and alleges that the marketing of the bar as “clean whey protein” is deceptive. The proportion of whey isolate is too small, it claims, and the bar also uses an artificial sweetener.
The class for this action includes all consumers in the US who bought any products with actionable representations during the statute of limitations. A New York Class has been proposed as an alternative.
The complaint points out that there are four gradations of milk and whey proteins:
The complaint points out that the last, WPI, is the most concentrated form of whey protein and is lower in carbohydrates, lactose, and fat than WPC. According to the complaint WPI is better at preserving glutamine residues and adds to protein synthesis as well as recovery after exertion. However, it is also more expensive because it requires more processing.
The designation “clean whey protein bar” suggests that the bar contains only the purest, most concentrated form of whey protein, the complaint says. That would be WPI. And while WPI is the first ingredient listed, the second is MPI, milk protein isolate.
So how much of the bar is actually the “cleanest” form of whey protein, WPI? The complaint analyzes the other ingredients and their probable relationship to the nutrition facts, such as total fat and saturated fat. From that, it alleges that MPI must be a significant component of the bar. The proportion of WPI to MPI might be 55:45, the complaint says, but in that case, the designation of “clean whey protein bar” is deceptive because it contains only slightly more WPI than MPI.
Also at issue is the promise on the packaging that “No Artificial Colors, Flavors, or Sweeteners” were used, because the bar contains erythritol. According to the complaint, this is an artificial sweetener.
The complaint claims violations of New York’s General Business Law, negligent misrepresentation, breaches of warranty, fraud, and unjust enrichment.