The Center for Science in the Public Interest has filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo for advertising Naked Juice to be healthier than it actually is.
Food and beverage labels have been a hot topic of discussion for quite some time now. If a drink is called "Kale Blazer," should you assume it's chock-full of kale? Or when you read "no added sugar," should you take that at face value? (Read: Should Added Sugar Appear on Food Labels?) These are some questions that might get answered in a new lawsuit filed against PepsiCo.
According to Business Insider, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer-advocacy group, claims that PepsiCo has been misleading consumers into thinking their Naked Juice beverages are healthier than they actually are.
Some allegations suggest that these so-called green drinks contain more sugar than some soda-based Pepsi products. For example, the Pomegranate Blueberry juice advertises that it is a no-sugar-added beverage, but in a 15.2-ounce container, there are 61 grams of sugar—which is about 50 percent more sugar than a 12-ounce can of Pepsi.
Another claim suggests that Naked Juice as a brand misleads consumers about what they're actually drinking. For example, the Kale Blazer juice appears to have kale as its prominent ingredient, as suggested by the leafy green imagery in its packaging. In truth, the drink is made up mostly of orange and apple juice.
CSPI also takes issue with the fact that Naked Juice uses tag lines like, "Only the best ingredients" and "Just the healthiest fruits and vegetable" to make customers think they are buying the healthiest option in the market. (Read: Are You Falling For These 10 Food Label Lies?)
"Consumers are paying higher prices for the healthful and expensive ingredients advertised on Naked labels, such as berries, cherries, kale and other greens, and mango," CSPI litigation director Maia Kats said in a statement. "But consumers are predominantly getting apple juice, or in the case of Kale Blazer, orange, and apple juice. They're not getting what they paid for."
PepsiCo defended itself in a statement denying the allegations. "All products in the Naked portfolio proudly use fruits and/or vegetables with no sugar added, and all Non-GMO claims on label are verified by an independent third party," the company wrote. "Any sugar present in Naked Juice products comes from the fruits and/or vegetables contained within and the sugar content is clearly reflected on label for all consumers to see."
Does this mean you should ditch your Naked Juice? The bottom line is that marketing isn't always transparent. Manufacturers often use sneaky ways to cash in on your healthy intentions, so it's important to educate yourself and try to stay one step ahead of the game.