The Campbell Soup Co. will change its low-sodium tomato soup labels under a settlement with a class of consumers who sued the company in a New Jersey federal court in 2010, alleging that these products cost more while actually containing about the same level of sodium as the company’s regular tomato soup. Smajlaj v. Campbell Soup Co., No. 10-01332 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D.N.J., preliminary approval granted August 9, 2011). The company will also provide a cash fund of $1.05 million for consumers throughout the United States who purchased the products over a two-year period ending in August 2011. Maximum recovery, depending on which soup was purchased and whether receipts are available, is $10 or $.50 for each can that a class member can show she purchased.
The agreement would permit class counsel fees of $350,000; the court has scheduled a final settlement approval hearing for November 29. According to court documents, Campbell will “follow new labeling procedures that avoid comparisons between the same varieties of reduced sodium condensed and regular condensed soup.” Details will be made available when the settlement Website goes live. The agreement covers the company’s “25% Less Sodium Condensed Tomato Soup” and “Campbell’s Healthy Request® Condensed Tomato Soup” with a “30% Less Sodium” banner on the label. Additional details about the litigation appear in Issue 342 and Issue 388 of this Update.