A class action lawsuit was filed in Florida state court against Tropicana Products, claiming that promotions for the company’s Trop50 Pomegranate Blueberry Juice Beverage are deceptive.
The suit alleges that Tropicana created a misleading label “with many elements not required by state or federal regulations” hoping to “tap into the enormous new market” of consumers interested in the antioxidant benefits of blueberries and pomegranates.
Instead, the juice is really “a mixture of cheap apple juice and grape juice concentrates,” according to the complaint. In addition to Tropicana, the suit names a local grocery store, Publix Supermarkets, where named plaintiff Nicole Cruz purchased the product.
To support its claim that Tropicana’s label was misleading, the suit references last year’s deceptive advertising lawsuit by pomegranate juice maker Pom Wonderful against Welch Foods. Pom filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Welch’s White Grape Pomegranate Juice deceived consumers about the amount of pomegranate juice in the product, which caused Pom to lose money.
After a week-long trial in September 2010, a California jury agreed with both parties: while it found that Welch did in fact deceive consumers, jurors said that Pom did not lose sales of its own drink as a result. The Tropicana suit also claims that other companies make products that contain primarily pomegranate and/or blueberry juice, which added to the consumer confusion about the Trop50 juice product. In addition to false advertising, the suit – which seeks less than $5 million damages for a statewide class of plaintiffs who purchased the product over the last four years – alleges violation of Florida’s unfair competition law and breach of warranty.
To read the complaint in Cruz v. Tropicana, click here.
Why it matters: Juice manufacturers have recently been the target of a number of false advertising suits. A class action was filed against Gerber Products over claims made about its fruit juice (which the suit alleged was primarily corn syrup and sugar), and Welch is facing a class action suit over deceptive marketing of its white grape and pomegranate juice blend.