Beans are an inexpensive and effective way to incorporate protein into a balanced diet. Consumers depend on producers and distributers to fill cans of beans to the weight specified on the label. This lawsuit claims that Sun Vista Beans overfilled their cans of beans with water to reduce costs at the expense and repulsion of the consumer.
One plaintiff in this lawsuit, William Beckman, is from San Diego, California. He is a frequent shopper at Stater Bros. Market and purchases his Sun Vista Beans there. Over the years, he has purchased multiple cans of Sun Vista Beans based upon the image on the label depicting a delicious and full bowl of beans, the nutritional information on the label, and the size of the container. These three indicators led Beckman to believe he would be purchasing high-quality and full cans of beans. He was deceived by Sun Vista Beans on multiple occasions where he discovered that the cans were overfilled with water. Had he known that the cans had that amount of water, he would have purchased another brand of beans. Other plaintiffs and consumers have similar stories.
Sun Vista Beans are produced and sold by Arizona Canning. The company has been in business for over 50 years and sells a variety of products including pinto beans, black beans, white beans, and red kidney beans. They are sold in 15 oz., 20 oz., 40 oz., and 108 oz., cans. The beans are sold in metal containers that ensure the beans stay fresh, but prevent consumers from seeing the inner contents.
The advertising and labeling of the beans are misleading to consumers. Advertisements and labeling depict hearty bowls full of beans without any water. When the beans are poured out, a large amount of water comes out too. Consumers often believe that the beans look more like a soup than beans. Labels indicate several servings within each can. Often, the amount of servings found within a can does not match this. The labeling on the 29 oz. can of beans claims that it has “about 6 servings,” each serving being about 4 oz. of beans. This would mean that the can has about 24 oz. of beans and 5 oz. of water. In a home investigation, one plaintiff found that the 29 oz. can contained 13 oz. of beans and 16 oz. of water. This is a gross misrepresentation of nutritional and economic value.
Based on the facts of the case, the plaintiffs allege that Sun Vista violated the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, committed deceptive and misleading advertising, and engaged in unfair competition.