Source - Food & Beverage Litigation and Regulatory Update | Issue 805

Kraft Beats Velveeta Cook Time Lawsuit

A federal court in Florida has tossed a proposed class action alleging The Kraft Heinz Foods Co. misleads consumers on the cook time of its single-serve Velveeta mac and cheese product. Ramirez v. Kraft Heinz Foods Co., No. 22-23782 (S.D. Fla., entered July 27, 2023). The plaintiff alleged she bought Kraft’s Velveeta microwavable single-serve cups of mac and cheese marketed as being ready in 3 1/2 minutes. She alleged that statement is false and misleading because it takes longer to prepare the product for consumption.

Kraft sought dismissal of the complaint, arguing in part that the plaintiff lacks standing because she did not suffer an injury. The company argued that the plaintiff has not plausibly alleged she did not receive the benefit of her bargain and that she continued to purchase the product after becoming aware of the cook time. The plaintiff responded that she sufficiently alleged that she paid a premium price due to the misrepresentation and that price premium allegations are sufficient to establish standing.

The court sided with Kraft Heinz, finding that the plaintiff does not allege that she was unable to consume the product or that it was otherwise so flawed as to be rendered useless.

“In fact, the Complaint does not even include an allegation that Plaintiff ever attempted to cook the product. Similarly, Plaintiff’s Complaint contains no factual allegations of the price she might have paid if Defendant’s product was not marketed as ready in three and a half minutes,” the court said. “Therefore, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate an injury and lacks standing for her [Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act] and tag-along claims." The court similarly found the plaintiff lacked standing for injunctive relief, dismissing the complaint without prejudice and leave to amend.

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