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“Healthy Snacks” and Product Liability

Today we have a serious snacking obsession; the snack food market is a $33 million dollar industry in the U.S. which accounts for 90% of adults grazing on any given day, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In the same survey, about 40% of adults chomped on snacks at least three times a day or more. According to a 2015 report from the market research firm Mintel, people say they snack mainly to satisfy a craving or to enhance energy. Although this may be their thought process, surveys may not be uncovering the subtle causes that nudge people to nibble because consumers are probably unaware of these underlying factors. The desire to be healthy drives some consumer’s snack choices, but people mostly want to indulge themselves. Still many want to know which snacks are actually good for you, rather than advertised as such for profit?

Protein Good; Me Full

More than 7 in 10 snack foods sold today are promoted as being “better of you” according to Innova Market Insights. One of the biggest trends is “protein”. Protein doesn’t essentially mean healthy when it comes to these little meals. These foods can contain highly processed ingredients or so much fat and sugar that you might as well eat the stocked up Halloween candy you save ever year. Almost 50% of Americans say that they want to increase the protein in their diet and food makers are only happy to necessitate. More specifically, there was an 89% jump in snacks sold with protein claims between 2012 and 2014, according to Mintel. People will see protein promoted on labels for cheese, beef jerky, nuts, yogurt, and other foods that are natural sources of the nutrient. Food companies know this and try to modify foods that you usually don’t think of a being protein-packed, such as cereal or chips, with protein concentrates from sources such as soy, whey, peas, or rice, sometimes as isolates. Isolates are mostly protein with very little carbs or fat present.

The Unnatural Phenomenon

Another word that is overused and abused is “natural”. That’s despite the fact that the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t defined what the word really denotes. When people see it on processed foods, two-thirds think it means the product has no synthetic ingredients, pesticides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), according to a 2014 nationally representative survey of 1,000 adults by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. The truth is natural processed foods can and do contain those substances. The term natural is confusing and deceptive and too many consumers are misled. This is why many have called for the ban of natural “natural” on food labels because of the distorted belief by the general public. Two examples of settlements due to popular food companies being disingenuous are:

  • Diamond Foods settled a “natural” lawsuit by agreeing to compensate consumers who bought Kettle Brand products that contained a “natural” or similar label in the U.S. between Jan. 3, 2010 and Feb. 24, 2015. Considering Kettle sees millions of sales in any one year, reimbursing portions of five years of product sales could easily add up for the company.
  • Late last year, General Mills Inc. finally agreed to change the labels of its Nature Valley granola bars and other products by removing the word “natural” after four lawsuits were filed in 2012. Claims against the company were that the foods actually contained highly-processed, genetically modified ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, high maltose corn syrup, and maltodextrin. Per the settlement agreement, General Mills tweaked that packaging to then read, “made with 100 percent natural oats” instead of “100 percent natural.”

Mislabeling lawsuits have only increased over the past few years — by 60% in 2012 alone — as accusations fly throughout the food industry as to what products say they are versus what is actually in the product. This could be over claims of being “all-natural” or “protein-packed,” having a certain proportion of healthy ingredients, or any number of other issues, major, nitpicky, or otherwise. However small the detail is, a food company is supposed to label all ingredients within their product in a matter that doesn’t lie to the general public.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

Sometimes that small lie is what injures consumers. What is important is the decision that the injured party or parties make. Don’t settle for a settlement that barely covers the medical expenses that you’ve racked up thus far due to the mislabeling of food companies. The trauma suffered now could lead to disabilities in the future; what will cover those medical costs?

Don’t accept a premature settlement—instead, contact the experienced product liability attorneys of Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation and case evaluation. If you or loved one has suffered losses due to a food company’s negligence, you may be able to secure significant financial compensation. Call us today at 727-451-6900.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765