Last Friday, William Randolph filed a class action complaint in the Southern District of New York against Mondelez International, Inc. for deceptive and misleading advertising for allegedly lying about the type of flour used in their Stoned Wheat Thins products.
Stoneground flour refers to the process by which the flour is made. Stone grinding flour “has been shown to have a higher nutritional value than flour produced by modern industrial methods” due to the lack of burning and the reintegration of nutritional parts of the grain. Also, due to the modern attention to the healthiness of foods, “consumers are willing to […] pay more to purchase foods believed to be healthy,” the complaint claims. Since stoneground wheat flour is a whole grain, it helps to “maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.”
The plaintiffs recounted a survey in which over 80% of respondents believed that stoneground wheat flour was one of the main ingredients in the Stoned Wheat Thins products, despite them actually using unbleached enriched flour. This type of processed flour does not contain any of the added health benefits of stoneground flour, and crucially does not contain the same level of fiber.
As a result, the plaintiffs claimed that the labeling of Stoned Wheat Thins packaging is false, deceptive, and misleading since it has “enabled Defendant to sell more Products than it would have in the absence of this misconduct.” This is also because the defendants were able to raise the price of their product as stoneground wheat flour is more expensive to produce. The plaintiffs are suing on the counts of violations of New York General Business Law Section 349 and 350, and unjust enrichment.
The plaintiffs are seeking declaratory relief, statutory, punitive, compensatory and incidental damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.