Blog: Crunch time for PepsiCo in "all-natural" crisp lawsuit

Michelle Russell | 6 February 2012

A New York man is the latest to file a lawsuit against soft drinks and snacks giant PepsiCo in the US.

Chris Shake is suing the firm over the "all-natural" claims on Frito Lay's Tostitos and SunChips crisps. The plaintiff says the snacks actually contain corn and oils made from genetically modified plants, according to Reuters.

Shake said he shelled out an additional $0.10 per ounce of crisps to buy the allegedly "all-natural" products, instead of a product such as Doritos, which makes no such claim, the publication noted.

This isn't the first time PepsiCo has been sued over its Frito-Lay products. A similar lawsuit was filed in California last month by Julie Gengo, alleging that Frito-Lay's snack products were "fraudulently labelled".

Both lawsuits are seeking to recover the amount of money allegedly paid by consumers in search of an "all natural" product, with the New York lawsuit estimating that the amount of total damages will exceed $5m.

However, according to the Center for Food Safety, there is no comprehensive, formal definition of the term "natural" when it is used on food labels, with the exception of some meat products regulated by the US Department of Agriculture.

This may not sit well with PepsiCo, who last year announced plans to make 50% of its snacks line from "all-natural" ingredients. To support the reformulation, Frito-Lay launched what it claimed was its largest marketing campaign in the history of the company.

On the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Frito-Lay told just-food: "Frito-Lay's first priority is making great snacks with high quality ingredients that people enjoy. We stand behind the quality and integrity of all of our products, and we are confident that our products and labeling comply with all regulatory requirements."


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