New Slack-Fill Class Action Gets to the Pint

Up-and-coming ice cream company Halo Top accused of skimping on the goods

Rocket Road

In July 2017, Halo Top became the best-selling ice cream brand in the United States.

Its ascent was as dizzying as a cold-stimulus headache. The brand, according to Inc. magazine, grew its revenues an incredible 21,000 percent between 2013 and 2016, leaving Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs in the rear-view.

What accounts for the growth?

The company is one of those all-American success stories that makes everyone jealous: A couple of broke founders roll the dice, create an upstart food brand in their kitchen and get plenty of credit for using the healthiest ingredients they can find.

The draw of the product, though, is an ice cream that can be consumed not in guilty fits and starts, but by whole pints at a sitting. According to the company, the calorie count of a pint of Halo Top is less than a third of the pints of its two major competitors. The actual count features prominently on the front of Halo Top’s packaging, where the number of calories is printed in larger font than the brand name.

Low in calories, low in fat and high in protein, Halo Top’s pints started flying off the shelves. For a while, the company couldn’t keep up with demand.

The Takeaway

Two California consumers aren’t taken with the company’s charming story, however. In a June 2018 class action suit, Youssif Kamal and Gillian Neely claim that Halo Top routinely underfills its pints, “oftentimes dramatically so.”

This allegation, they believe, is rendered all the more grave because the packaging pushes the product as an ice cream pint that can be guiltlessly consumed (“GUILT FREE ZONE…Keep digging” is an example of the slogans the company prints on the inside foil lid).

The duo alleges that Halo Top violated California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and committed breach of implied contract. They seek injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.

Clearly, slack-fill remains on the class action radar.