This class action lawsuit claims that Silk Almondmilk is advertised by its manufacturer WhiteWave to be nutritionally equivalent, and even superior, to dairy milk when, in fact, it lacks many of the essential nutrients and vitamins provided in dairy milk.
Consumer demand for non-dairy milks has exponentially increased over the past decade. In fact, almond-based milk substitutes, including the Silk Almond Beverages, experienced a 40% increase in sales between 2013 and 2014 alone, while dairy milk sales have steadily declined. By calling Silk Almond Beverages “milk,” a term historically used to define cow’s milk, WhiteWave has capitalized on reasonable consumers’ understanding of the well-known health benefits and essential nutrients that dairy milk provides without actually providing those health benefits and essential nutrients.
WWF Operating company provides a “Compare to Dairy” link on each beverages’ webpage that attempts to highlight the health advantages of its products, yet fails to highlight nearly all of the essential vitamins and nutrients provided in fat-free dairy milk. The website notes that there are fewer calories, cholesterol, and sugar and more calcium, vitamin D, saturated fat, and antioxidants than skim dairy milk. It fails to note that skim dairy milk has more protein, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamin c, and other nutrients. It also does not consider that many people would choose low-fat of 2% milk instead of almondmilk.
One plaintiff in this lawsuit, Melanie Kelley, is a resident of Fresno, California. She frequently purchases Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk from her local grocer. Kelley relied upon the product’s labeling and television commercials that informed her that Silk Almond Beverages are healthier than milk. Kelley reasonably believed that she was purchasing a beverage that was nutritionally superior to dairy milk, contained comparable amounts of the essential vitamins and nutrients contained in dairy milk, and contained higher amounts of protein and vitamin D than dairy milk. Had she known that the product was nutritionally inferior, she would not have purchased it.
Based on the facts of the case, the plaintiffs allege the following violations: