Kellogg Sued in Class Action Alleging False and Misleading Statements about Protein Content

On Wednesday, Kellogg Company was sued in a putative class action regarding its packaging’s representations regarding the amount of the products’ protein content. The products at issue include various products under the Kellogg brands MorningStar Farms, Special K, RX, and Bear Naked.

The complaint alleges that the Kellogg packaging’s representations such as “16G PROTEIN” are false and misleading, since some of the products “actually contain only 10.58 grams (i.e., an overstatement by approximately 51%).” 

Plaintiffs also claim that Kellogg overstated the protein quality, alleging that “Defendant uses proteins of low biological value to humans in their products, such as wheat and oat proteins,” in contravention of the the FDA-mandated “Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid” score (PDCAAS). As a result, the complaint alleges, “only 30-40% of the protein from those sources will be digested.”

The plaintiffs allege that Kellogg’s statements are both “false” and “misleading” under state and federal statutes and regulations, as well as the common law. Causes of action under the complaint include claims under California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act; False Advertising; Fraud; Deceit, Misrepresentation; Unlawful, Unfair, and Fraudulent Trade Practices, and Unjust Enrichment.

The putative-class plaintiffs allege that they paid a premium for the protein content stated on the packaging, which “causes the Products to command a price premium in the market as compared with similar products that do not make such misrepresentations.” The complaint alleges that given the increased and unjust payments to Kellogg, the “amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000.” 

The Kellogg brands at issue include the following products: MorningStar Veggie Burger Grillers Original, MorningStar Popcorn Chik’n, MorningStar Chorizo Crumbles, MorningStar Grillers Prime Veggie Burgers, MorningStar Garden Veggie Burger, MorningStar Grillers Veggie Crumbles, MorningStar Buffalo Chik’n Patties, MorningStar Chik’n Strips, MorningStar Veggie Meatballs, MorningStar Breakfast Veggie Sausage Links, MorningStar Veggie Classics Frozen Buffalo Wings, MorningStar Incogmeato 100% Plant Protein Plant-Based Ground, RX Protein Bars, Special K Protein Original Cereal, and Bear Naked Honey Almond Granola.

The putative class-action plaintiffs are represented by Gutride Safier LLP.