Source - Food & Beverage Litigation Update | Issue 786

Yogurt Maker Faces Suit For ‘Naturally French’ Labeling

A California consumer has filed a proposed class action against La Fermiere, alleging the yogurt maker misrepresented the origin of its products on its packaging. Manier v. La Fermiere Inc., No. 22-1894 (C.D. Cal., filed October 27, 2022).

The plaintiff alleged she was misled by the product’s packaging into believing the yogurt she bought was made in France, and she would not have purchased the company’s yogurt had she been aware of the misrepresentations. According to the complaint, the defendant runs U.S. operations for a French-based company that manufactures, labels, distributes and sells yogurt in France and throughout Europe. It also manufactures, labels, distributes and sells yogurt products in the United States.

“Defendant’s marketing, labeling and sale of the Products misleads a reasonable consumer to believe that the yogurts are made in France, by using the words ‘Naturally French’ on the front label,” she asserted in the complaint. “Consumers interpret that statement to mean that the products are made in France, when in actuality they are made in the United States, in New York.”

The complaint also cited an article in Taste France, a publication of the French Ministry of Agriculture, in which the company’s CEO was quoted several times. The article stated his products “benefit from the ‘Made in France’ reputation, which is very popular with American consumers,” the plaintiff said.

“Therefore, it is abundantly clear that Defendants’ misrepresentations are false and misleading and are intended to be,” she added.

The plaintiff is alleging violations of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law, in addition to claims of breach of warranty and unjust enrichment. She is seeking class certification, injunctive relief, costs and expenses including attorney’s fees and prejudgment and post-judgment interest.

Read more food, beverage and agribusiness industry news in the Food & Beverage Litigation and Regulatory Update.