In his ruling, the judge observed that most consumers probably do not purchase frosting-covered strawberry Pop-Tarts because they genuinely believe they are a prime source of strawberry-based nutrition.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Kellogg’s, filed by a woman who claimed that the company does not use actual berries in its strawberry-flavored Pop-Tarts.
According to FOX5, Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr., of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, found that Kellogg’s claims of strawberry-based flavoring “are simply not deceptive.”
The complaint, notes FOX5, was originally filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, East St. Louis.
In her complaint, plaintiff Kelvin Brown said that Kellogg’s advertising “give[s] consumers the impression that the fruit filling contains a greater relative and absolute amount of strawberries than it does.”
Brown suggested that consumers might purchase strawberry-flavored Pop-Tarts because strawberries have “one of the highest levels of nutrient density of all fruits,” and are an “’excellent source of vitamin C,’ needed for immune and skin health.”
The lawsuit observes that, while the product is marketed at “Frosted Strawberry Toaster Pastries,” “its filling contains a relatively significant amount of nonstrawberry fruit ingredients—pears and apples—shown on the ingredients list.”
“The Product’s name, ‘Frosted Strawberry – Toaster Pastry,’ is misleading because it includes ‘Strawberry,’ but does not include pears and apples, even though these fruits are stated in the fine print on the ingredients list,” the complaint said.
Brown claimed that Kellogg’s was intentionally deceiving consumers, noting that strawberry-flavored Pop-Tarts include Red 40, an artificial dye.
According to Brown, the company may have used Red 40 to make it appear as if the Pop-Tarts actually contained strawberry-based ingredients.
“The Product,” Brown wrote, “does not reveal the addition of this artificial coloring anywhere other than the ingredient list.”
“Reasonable consumers must and do rely on a company to honestly identify and describe the components, attributes, and features of the Product,” the lawsuit says.
However, Carter found fault with the lawsuit’s logic, opining that a “reasonable consumer” would probably not purchase strawberry-flavored Pop-Tarts for its nutritional value.
“A reasonable consumer,” Carter wrote, “is unlikely to purchase a toaster pastry coated in frosting exclusively for the nutritional value of strawberries in its fruit filling.”
“No reasonable consumer would see the entire product label, reading the words ‘Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts’ next to a picture of a toaster pastry coated in frosting, and reasonably expect that fresh strawberries would be the sole ingredient in the Product,” he added.
WDRB.com notes that, last month, a federal judge in Chicago dismissed a similar complaint, finding that Kellogg never guaranteed how many strawberries it might use in the production of its “toaster pastries.”