Gen. Mills Yogurt Claims Lead to Class-Action Suits
Claims made by Golden Valley-based General Mills about how its Yoplait Yo-Plus Yogurt naturally regulates digestive health have landed the company in court in four states.
The manufacturing giant is facing class-action suits in California, Ohio, Florida, and New Jersey. The suits claim that the company's marketing and advertising of its Yo-Plus Yogurt is “false, misleading, and reasonably likely to deceive the public.”
The Yo-Plus yogurt hit the market in 2007 and, according to marketing materials, is “the only yogurt on the market with Optibalance, which helps put digestion back on track.”
The plaintiffs-who are being represented by Florida law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, LLP-argue that the company has no support for some of the claims it makes, including that that Yo-Plus naturally regulates digestive health and provides consumers with additional digestive health benefits that other yogurt products do not.
“In fact, General Mills has never tested Yo-Plus for its ability to deliver the unique health benefits claimed in its advertising campaign,” the Ohio suit said. “Nonetheless, as a result of General Mills' deceptive advertising campaign, General Mills charges a premium for Yo-Plus.”
Two of the four suits-those filed in California and Florida-have already been certified as class-action suits and the other two-filed in Ohio and New Jersey-are in the process of seeking certification.
The plaintiffs have requested a jury trial and are seeking unspecified compensatory damages.
“We're happy to let a jury decide whether or not this advertising campaign is unfair and deceptive to consumers,” Cullin O'Brien, an attorney with Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, LLP, told Twin Cities Business on Thursday.
In an e-mailed statement, General Mills said that it has a standing practice of not commenting on pending litigation. But in court documents, the company denies the allegations that its advertising and marketing of Yo-Plus is deceptive.
General Mills isn't the first company to face class-action litigation regarding claims made about the benefits of yogurt products. Last year, White Plains, New York-based Dannon reportedly paid $45 million to settle a similar class-action suit regarding its Activia and DanActive Yogurt Products.
General Mills is Minnesota's eighth-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $14.8 billion during its most recently completed fiscal year.