“Protein-packed” chips: are they actually a good source of protein, or misleading? A California judge allowed claims to proceed against Mondelez Global, LLC for “high protein lentils" and "protein-packed" claims made on its Enjoy Life Lentil Chips packaging.
Plaintiff claimed he relied upon the chips’ labeling claims, believing that consuming the product would provide an excellent, or at a minimum, a good source of protein. However, he argued that the product contains less than the amount of protein content required by the FDA to substantiate high protein claims. Further, while the packaging made the protein claims on the front and back of the label, it omitted the percentage of the DRV for protein in the Nutrition Facts panel, which Plaintiff argued is required when a product’s label makes a nutrient content claim related to protein content. By omitting the DRV for protein, Plaintiff argued, the chip-maker was able to “mislead and deceive consumers that the Products are excellent or good sources of protein.”
Mondelez argued that the “high protein lentils” and “protein-packed” claims were not misleading because they did not suggest that the product contains any specific amount of protein. The judge, however, found that the claims could communicate implied nutrient content claims that suggested the product contained a certain level of protein, and could create the overall impression that the product is a good source of protein.
The Court determined the Plaintiff plausibly alleged that the protein-related statements would mislead a reasonable consumer into believing that the chips were a good source of protein, thus allowing the claims to proceed.
Klammer v. Mondelez International Inc., No. 4:22-cv-02046, (N.D. Cal. 2023).