Arizona Beverages Sued Over “Lite” Branding

Kenneth Crawford filed a complaint against Arizona Beverages USA LLC alleging that the defendant misrepresents their “Arnold Palmer Lite” beverages.According to the complaint, the Arnold Palmer beverage contains too much sugar content to be advertised as Lite. 

The complaint cites several dictionary definitions, each referring to Lite as relating to low-fat-or-sugar versions of manufactured food or drink products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines Lite similarly and considers it a nutrient content claim, defined as terms and descriptors used in labeling foods and beverages. These claims are subject to regulations intended to prevent consumers from being misled.

The complaint notes that the Arnold Palmer Lite beverage’s second most predominant ingredient is sugar; and, that the product contains 31 grams of sugar: 62% of the daily recommended value. The complaint then cites the FDA’s criteria for low and high claims for nutrient content. Low is between five and seven percent of the daily value; and high is at least twenty percent.

The complaint briefly explains that as more and more consumers are becoming health conscious, companies are following this trend. And that the use of the term “Lite” is misleading health-conscious consumers.

The complaint also alleges that the “An American Company—Family Owned and Operated” graphic on the Arnold Palmer Lite beverage is a misrepresentation because the product is a Product of Canada.

The complaint concludes that reasonable consumers rely on companies to honestly identify their products, the Arnold Palmer Lite beverage’s value is materially less than its value represented by the defendant because of its misleading marketing, and that the defendant would’ve sold less of this product had they marketed it honestly. The complaint accuses the defendant of being in violation of Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act,  and the State Consumer Fraud Acts, adding that the defendant breached both contract of purchase and express warranty. Lastly, the complaint accuses the defendant of negligent misrepresentation of their product, fraud, and unjust enrichment.The plaintiff seeks permanent and preliminary injunctive relief, the declaration of the complaint as a proper class action, and an award of monetary damages and costs. Kenneth Crawford is represented by Sheehan & Associates, P.C..