Kroger Is Under Fire for Selling This to Shoppers
The popular grocery chain has found itself at the center of a new lawsuit.
We're all guilty of buying things we don't necessarily need from the store during our shopping trips—especially from grocery stores like Kroger. Even with a clearly written grocery list in hand, it's hard to resist their fresh baked goods or tempting assortment of organic items. But now, a shopper is condemning Kroger for allegedly misleading customers into buying one product in particular. Read on to find out what the grocery chain is under fire for selling.
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Kroger has been at the center of several lawsuits recently.
Kroger has faced backlash over its inventory before. Back in March, the grocer was sued by the Ecological Alliance organization over allegations of high amounts of lead in a number of its food products. Later that same month, Kroger was hit with another lawsuit—this time over claims that the company was selling cold and flu meds marketed as "non-drowsy," despite actually causing drowsiness.
Now, one customer is claiming that Kroger is also deceptively marketing a different kind of product in stores.
The grocery chain has been hit with a new lawsuit.
On Aug. 21, plaintiff Stacy Sumner filed a class action lawsuit against the Kroger Co. in an Illinois federal court, Top Class Actions reported. According to the legal news outlet, Sumner is suing Kroger over claims that it has violated state and federal consumer laws through the sale of one surprising product. The complaint alleges deceptive marketing of the grocery chain's coffee creamers.
"Defendant sold more of the product and at higher prices than it would have in the absence of this misconduct, resulting in additional profits at the expense of consumers," the lawsuit states.
Best Life has reached out to Kroger for a comment on the lawsuit, but has not yet heard back.
The plaintiff is accusing Kroger of tricking customers into buying these creamers.
The new lawsuit alleges that Kroger is engaging in false advertising. According to Sumner, the grocery company's coffee sells coffee creamers that are actually coffee whiteners, which "usually contain more corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and fake flavoring, like Irish creme or French vanilla, than actual milk or cream," according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Kroger markets its coffee creamer products as "ultra-pasteurized," but Sumner claims that pasteurization is a process that consumers have long associated with dairy products. "By identifying the Product as 'Coffee Creamer' that 'has been ultra-pasteurized,' consumers will expect dairy cream," the lawsuit states, per Top Class Actions.
According to the suit, Kroger also does not include any "non-dairy" statements on these products. But as seen on the ingredient labels, the company's coffee creamers are mostly made from water, sugar, and sunflower oil. Sumner claims that like many of its competitors, Kroger substitutes these ingredients in place of cream to reduce costs. The issue, however, is that other retailers' prominently identified these as "Non-Dairy" coffee creamers, and do not market them as having been pasteurized, according to the lawsuit.
Another major retailer was recently sued for the same reason.
This is not the only recent coffee creamer-based lawsuit targeting a major retailer. On July 1, plaintiff Amber Knautz filed a class action suit against Walmart in an Illinois federal court over its store-brand Great Value Chocolate Caramel Coffee Creamer. Knautz claims that the big-box retailer also "manufacturers, markets, labels, and sells" this product as a coffee creamer despite actually being a coffee whitener—and it markets it with a yellow "ultra-pasteurized" label as well.
"By representing the product with the statements, 'Coffee Creamer' and 'Ultra Pasteurized,' consumers are misled because it lacks cream and dairy ingredients beyond a de minimis amount of sodium caseinate, a milk derivative, shown through the ingredient list," the lawsuit states,
In regards to this lawsuit, Walmart spokesperson Abby Williams-Bailey told Best Life, "We look to our suppliers to provide products which comply with all applicable laws, including labeling. We will respond as appropriate in Court."