PespiCo is being sued for exaggerating the health benefits in popular Naked Juice smoothie flavors like Green Machine and Kale Blazer. The beverages, for which customers pay premium prices, are not appropriately labeled, according to Food and Drug Administration guidelines, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reported Tuesday.
CSPI filed the lawsuit on behalf of Dina Lipkind, Lyle Takeshita and Chad Fenwick, who claim they overpaid for Naked. The suit states, “PepsiCo’s claims are false and misleading because the drinks do not have the ingredient profile represented.” The document argues that the plaintiffs would not have purchased the smoothie drinks if they were aware of the lack of nutritional value.
The products that boast inclusions of healthy ingredients like kale, acai berries, mango and more as main ingredients are typically mainly made up of sugary apple juice. The brand’s Pomegranate Blueberry Juice is loaded with 61 grams of sugar even though the label reads “NO SUGAR ADDED.” The drink contains more sugar than a can of Pepsi-Cola.
CSPI litigation director Maia Kats explained that customers were being misled by the company. “Consumers are paying higher prices for the healthful and expensive ingredients advertised on Naked labels, such as berries, cherries, kale and other greens, and mango,” she said.
“But consumers are predominantly getting apple juice, or in the case of Kale Blazer, orange and apple juice. They’re not getting what they paid for,” she added.
Despite the contents of the drinks being mostly sugar, the products were continuously advertised as containing “only . . . the best ingredients” and “[j]ust the healthiest fruits & vegetables.”
This is not the first time PepsiCo has come under fire for misleading customers. Back in 2013, the company settled a $9 million class-action lawsuit in California after customers complained that the company was using genetically modified organisms in some of the Naked drinks that were labeled “all natural.”
The current class action complaint is asking for monetary relief and injunctive relief to stop PepsiCo from misleading customers about the contents in the Naked beverages.
PepsiCo acquired Naked Juice from North Castle Partners in November 2006.