A federal district court in New York recently dismissed a complaint brought against Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. alleging that Dr Pepper's "diet" label is misleading because the sweeteners found Diet Dr Pepper can contribute to weight gain.
In Excevarria v. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., the Plaintiffs alleged that the noncaloric sweetener aspartame found in Diet Dr Pepper affects the body's ability to metabolize calories, allegedly contributing to weight gain. Plaintiffs alleged that the term "diet" in Diet Dr Pepper is misleading because consumers allegedly associate "diet" beverages with weight loss. Defendant Dr Pepper responded to these allegations by arguing that reasonable consumers understand that the term "diet" simply indicates sugar-free and calorie free. Dr Pepper further noted that its use of the term "diet" complies with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations.
In dismissing the complaint, the court acknowledged two recent decisions from federal district courts in California, Becerra v. Coca-Cola Company and Becerra v. Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., similarly finding that reasonable consumers were not likely to believe that consuming diet sodas would assist in weight loss, beyond the fact that they are low in calories.
Although the court dismissed the current action, it has given Plaintiffs until May 18, 2018 to amend the complaint to provide further support for its allegations.