Snack maker Snyder’s Lance, Inc. has filed a motion to dismiss an amended class complaint filed by representative plaintiffs alleging that the company misleads consumers by labeling its products as “natural” when they contain genetically modified ingredients. Barron v. Snyder’s Lance, Inc., No. 13-62496 (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D. Fla., Miami Div., motion filed March 10, 2014). Among other matters, the company argues that the plaintiffs’“premium price” theory of harm is not plausible, they lack standing to seek injunctive relief and their failure to address their understanding of the term “natural” is fatal to their claims.
As to the price theory, Snyder’s-Lance contends that the plaintiffs’ claims require the court to assume that price differences between its products and those of “rival brands” are based solely on the “natural” labeling. According to the company, the alleged price differential could be due to any number of other factors, such as better taste, more appealing advertising and packaging, better shelf placement, or the company’s cost-structure demands. The representative plaintiffs also apparently failed to allege the prices for rival products in the stores in which they purchased the company’s products.
Among additional challenges the company raises is that the complaint fails to state a plausible claim for relief as to non-genetically modified ingredients, because each of the purported artificial and synthetic ingredients is disclosed on the products’ packaging. Snyder’s-Lance also argues that the plaintiffs lack standing to sue as to snacks they did not purchase or products they do not yet know about.