Wed. Sep 27th, 2023
    Starbucks Ordered to Face Lawsuit Over Misleading Product Names

    A federal judge has ruled that Starbucks must face a lawsuit accusing the company of not including fruit in several of its Refresher beverages, despite the fruit being mentioned in the names of the drinks. U.S. District Judge John Cronan in Manhattan rejected Starbucks’ request to dismiss nine out of eleven claims in the proposed class-action lawsuit.

    Consumers alleged that drinks such as Mango Dragonfruit, Pineapple Passionfruit, and Strawberry Açai Refreshers did not actually contain the advertised fruits. Instead, the main ingredients were water, grape juice concentrate, and sugar. The plaintiffs argued that Starbucks’ misleading product names led to overcharging and violated consumer protection laws in their respective states.

    Starbucks argued that the product names were meant to describe the flavors of the drinks, rather than their actual ingredients. The company maintained that its menu boards accurately displayed the flavors and claimed that no reasonable consumers would have been confused. Starbucks also stated that its baristas could have clarified any confusion if customers had questions.

    However, Judge Cronan disagreed with Starbucks’ argument, stating that unlike the term “vanilla,” which is commonly understood to represent a flavor, terms like “mango,” “passionfruit,” and “açaí” are typically understood to represent both flavor and ingredient. The judge also noted that Starbucks has other products that include ingredients in their names, such as its Ice Matcha Tea Latte and Honey Citrus Mint Tea.

    While the judge dismissed a fraud claim and an unjust enrichment claim, he allowed the case to proceed for the remaining claims. Starbucks responded to the allegations, stating that the lawsuit’s claims were inaccurate and without merit. The case, which seeks at least $5 million in damages, will continue as it represents a proposed class of consumers.

    Overall, this ruling highlights the importance of clear and accurate product labeling to avoid misleading consumers.

    Sources: Reuters