Source - Food & Beverage Litigation Update | Issue 777

Multiple Lawsuits Filed Against Beyond Meat For Protein Claims

Beyond Meat Inc., producer of plant-based meat substitute products, has been hit with two lawsuits in the same week—one filed by a competitor and another filed by a group of consumers. Roberts v. Beyond Meat Inc., No. 22-2861 (N.D. Ill., E. Div., filed May 31, 2022); Don Lee Farms v. Beyond Meat Inc., No. 22-3751 (C.D. Cal., filed June 2, 2022). The complaints make similar allegations, asserting that Beyond Meat “miscalculates and overstates the Products’ protein content” as well as the quality of the protein. “Beyond Meat goes the extra mile to represent that the Products are the ‘future of protein’ and claims that eating the Products allows consumers to get high-quality protein in their diet while simultaneously helping the environment,” the consumer complaint argues. Both complaints describe the process of testing Beyond Meat’s products to ascertain the protein content of the products, allegedly finding that most of the products contained less than the company represented. The consumers argue that they spent money on Beyond Meat products relying upon the marketed protein content, and the competitor, Don Lee Farms, alleges that it lost business to the company because of its protein claims.

Don Lee Farms further argues that Beyond Meat consistently markets its products as natural and not synthetic despite allegedly containing methylcellulose, “a synthetic ingredient that is commonly used as a laxative, a filler in cosmetics products, or as a binding agent in hot dogs.” The consumers seek class certification and damages for alleged violations of Illinois consumer-protection statutes, and Don Lee Farms has requested damages as well as injunctions enjoining Beyond Meat from making the allegedly false representations and mandating a corrective advertising campaign.

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