- General Mills faces another consumer lawsuit due to claims of "misleading" messaging on cereal packaging, as reported by Star Tribune.
- The lawsuit claims General Mills cereal box claims if things like like "whole grains," "no high fructose corn syrup" and "fiber" are true, but outweighed by the cereal's high sugar content.
- The company said that this lawsuit "is without merit" and is based on "the accuracy of the products' labels."
General Mills is facing another lawsuit regarding health claims related to Cheerios Protein. The plaintiff in that case claims General Mills "misbranded" Cheerios Protein as a high-protein alternative to regular Cheerios, since the Protein product contained 17 times more sugar per serving than the regular variety.
These lawsuits show the complexities manufacturers face when they try to make nutrition or health-related claims for their products. Consumers have certain expectations for claims like "natural" and "healthy," terms that don't always have officially regulated definitions. If consumers feel a company makes a claim on their product but has other ingredients that cancel out that claim — particularly high sugar content — lawsuits are becoming a more common outcome.
This doesn't mean that manufacturers can't make valid health claims that consumers won't challenge. But they should be wary about generalized claims like "healthy" and "natural," and instead focus on specific parameters that might appeal to consumers. These could include high potassium or high antioxidant content, or promoting healthy fats, which are no longer as maligned as in the past.