Agri-business News chobani

Published on August 7th, 2013 | by Jennifer Kaplan

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Not ‘Natural': Chobani Sued For False Advertising

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Chobani naot 'natural'Move over Naked JuiceSkinnygirl CocktailsPOM Pomegranate Juice and  Vitaminwater. Chobani Greek Yogurt has just been added to the growing list of purportedly ‘natural’ brands that are in fact not ‘natural.’

Not ‘Natural’ After All

The list of companies that have been recently subjected to class action suits for using “natural’ on their labels continues to grow.  Now, a deceptive advertising class action lawsuit has been filed against Chobani Greek Yogurt for containing false and deceptive claims about the products’ health and nutritional benefits.

The lawsuit asserts that despite label claims that Chobani Greek Yogurt contains “Only Natural Ingredients,” “No artificial flavors,” and is sweetened with “evaporated cane juice,” the products actually contain artificial ingredients, flavorings, coloring, and chemical preservatives.
An article in TopClassActions.com, gives the example of  Chobani Greek Yogurt, Pomegranate flavor. The nutrition facts on the product label state that it has 19 grams of sugar, but the ingredient section fails to list “sugar” or “dried cane syrup” as an ingredient; instead, the label lists “Evaporated Cane Juice” as an ingredient. The article points out that the FDA has specifically warned companies not to use this term because it is “false and misleading,” does not accurately describe the ingredients utilized, and because ‘Evaporated Cane Juice’ is not a juice.
Almost all of the recent lawsuits concerning the misuse of the term ‘natural’ on food packaging have been settled. The guilty companies have committed marketing sins that range products containing GMOs and chemicals (Barbara’s BakeryNaked Juice and Skinnygirl Cocktails) to flagrantly exaggerating health claims (POM Pomegranate Juice and Vitaminwater).
As the number of companies being sued continues to grow, brands have the choice to be more cautious (aka. honest) with ‘natural’ claims. Some, like Barbara’s Bakery, have done just that. One could venture to guess that brands that truly trade on being ‘natural’ will self-regulate their product claims, in essence filling the regulatory gap left unfilled by the FDA, USDA and FTC which have all dropped the ball. Others, however, will they surely pay their restitution, continue to lobby against labeling laws and regulations and continue to intentionally mislead consumers. It remains to be seen which brands end up on which side of the issue.



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About the Author

Jennifer Kaplan writes regularly about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for EatDrinkBetter.com and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was been named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - find her on .



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  • Elizabeth

    Because of all the issues with manufactured yogurt, we make our own. So no packaging, no gelatin, no artificial additives, no whey introduced in to the environment (as happens with large scale Greek yogurt production). Plain, simple and the way it should be.

  • MisaoAkiOlivier

    Interesting article; I don’t think I will be eating Chobani anymore! Thanks for the info.

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