Time will tell: Woman sues Kraft Heinz, saying their Velveeta mac and cheese is lying to consumers about how long it takes to make
A Florida woman is suing food manufacturer Kraft Heinz Foods Company for the time it takes to prepare Velveeta microwavable mac and cheese. Amanda Ramirez, part of a class action lawsuit, claims the global food manufacturer is misleading consumers by lying about how long it takes to prepare the cheesy meal. She is seeking $5 million.
The suit states Kraft Heinz prominently states on its packaging that the Velveeta mac and cheese is “READY IN 3½ MINUTES.”
But when Ramirez made the dish, she found that only one of the steps required to prepare the mac and cheese took three and a half minutes, and instead, it took much longer than the promised time to make the meal. Court documents state, “According to the directions on the back of the packaging, there are four steps in preparing the Product.”
In fact, instead of the three-and-a-half minute preparation, the food packaging shows in their back content that there are five separate steps to make the meal. One of these five preparation steps, number five, alone takes the promised three-and-a-half minutes. The court documents explain, “Consumers seeing “ready in 3½ minutes” will believe it represents the total amount of time it takes to prepare the Product, meaning from the moment it is unopened to the moment it is ready for consumption. However, the directions outlined above show that 3-and-a-half minutes is just the length of time to complete one of several steps.”
In total, the class action lawsuit includes consumers in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, New Mexico, Alaska, Iowa, Tennessee and Virginia who purchased the mac and cheese cups during the applicable statute of legal limitations period.
The plaintiff claims that the Velveeta microwavable dish is priced higher than the company’s other microwavable mac and cheese.
The legal files allege, “Defendant sold more of the Product and at higher prices than it would have in the absence of this misconduct, resulting in additional profits at the expense of consumers. As a result of the false and misleading representations, the Product is sold at a premium price, approximately no less than $10.99 for eight 2.39 oz cups, excluding tax and sales, higher than similar products, represented in a non-misleading way, and higher than it would be sold for absent the misleading representations and omissions.”
Lest you think this lawsuit is frivolous, don’t be fooled by the lighthearted cheesy meal at hand. The number of food suits is going up yearly, with issues such as E. coli and salmonella becoming prominent news, and false advertising against giant food brands in cases nicknamed “David and Goliath” lawsuits.
At the heart of the Velveeta 15-page lawsuit is the legal responsibility of corporations to tell the truth to the public about their products. One of the numerous attorneys working with the plaintiffs for the Velveeta case is nicknamed “Mr. Vanilla’ because he has filed more than four hundred class action lawsuits, just in regard to vanilla flavors in baked goods.
The class action suit alleges, “Defendant made misrepresentations of material fact regarding the total length of time it would take to prepare the Product for consumption, through its advertisements and marketing, through various forms of media, on the packaging, in print circulars, direct mail, product descriptions, and targeted digital advertising. Defendant’s false and deceptive representations and omissions are material in that they are likely to influence consumer purchasing decisions.”
Kraft Heinz disagrees with the allegations in the lawsuit. The company released a statement saying it will fight the lawsuit to defend its product.
“We are aware of this frivolous lawsuit and will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint,” the company stated.
The plaintiff said in her court documents that she is still a fan of Velveeta mac and cheese and would love to go back to enjoying the product. But like the lawsuit itself, this will take some time. Ramirez said she will be back to buying the meal, “when she can do so with the assurance its representations are consistent with its abilities, attributes, and/or composition.”
Kraft Heinz is expected to file for a dismissal of the case.
As per the outcome of this case, like all lawsuits, only time will tell.