Law Street Media

Mars Responds to False Advertising Complaint Over Ingredients

An array of cocoa powder, chocolates of various types, and coca fruit.

All the stages of chocolate. Cocoa pod, cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cocoa powder and dark chocolate on wooden table.

On Monday, Mars Wrigley Confectionery US, LLC (Mars), responded to a complaint filed by Steven Beers alleging that the company had engaged in negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and unjust enrichment by falsely advertising the ingredients that were put into their Dove bars, which they labeled as having a milk chocolate coating.

Specifically, Beers explained that the box design for Dove bars is “deceptive and misleading because the ‘chocolate’ portion of the ice cream bar contains ingredients consumers do not expect in chocolate – vegetable oil.” By including vegetable oil in the milk chocolate coating, Beers argues that the overall flavor is compromised. He states that the addition of vegetable oil “fundamentally changes the nature of the food,” and because of this, that the front label should be “required to disclose this.”

The plaintiff further explained that failing to correctly advertise the product could lead to consumers not understanding the health problems they are risking by eating the Dove bar, since “consumption of vegetable oils is linked to numerous health problems, like increased chances of heart disease.” He explains that “chocolate also provides health benefits and at a minimum, does not provide the negative health effects associated with vegetable oils.”

Beers is also alleging unjust enrichment on the basis that had individuals known the truth, “they would not have bought the product and would have paid less for them.” The supposed false advertising by Mars, the plaintiff claimed, allowed the company to sell the product at a higher price.

Based on this information, Beers filed a complaint seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief (“by directing defendant to correct the challenged practices to comply with the law,”), monetary and statutory damages, and costs and expenses.

Mars answered this complaint by largely denying the plaintiff’s allegations, citing that “no threat of immediate harm exists sufficient to support a grant of injunctive relief.” They added to this statement, saying that Mars had “fully performed any and all contractual, statutory, and other duties.” They asked the judge to rule in favor of the defendant and to award all costs and attorney’s fees associated with the suit.

The plaintiff is represented by Sheehan & Associates.

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