“GoodBelly” and “GoodHealth” plus label plausibly communicate net digestive health benefits

Andrade-Heymsfield v. Nextfoods, Inc., No. 3:21-cv-1446-BTM-MSB,
2023 WL 2576770 (S.D. Cal. Mar. 20, 2023)

Plaintiff brought the usual
California claims
against a line of fruit juices — GoodBelly Probiotic
JuiceDrinks — “that expressly or implicitly convey the message that the
JuiceDrinks are healthy” with these package statements:

… Drink one 8 oz. glass of delicious GoodBelly a day for 12 days;

(2) Reboot your belly, then make
GoodBelly your daily drink to keep your GoodHealth going. Because when your
belly smiles the rest of you does too;

naturally occurring in the human gut. It has been studied more than 2 decades
and has numerous research trials to show that it may help promote healthy
digestion and overall wellness; and

(4) GoodBelly Probiotics is a
delicious blend of fruit juices and a daily dose of probiotic cultures created
to naturally renew your digestive health, right where your overall health gets
started – in your belly.

Plaintiff alleged that, in fact, JuiceDrinks are unhealthy for
digestive health because they contain “excessive amounts of free sugar.” The
complaint pled facts indicating that juice consumption leads to numerous
negative health consequences.

Plaintiff has plausibly alleged
that a reasonable consumer would read JuiceDrinks’ label as claiming to promote
digestive health. The product itself is called “GoodBelly,” which can be read
by the reasonable consumer as a claim that the product is good for digestive
health. The label, moreover, can be read by the reasonable consumer as claiming
that the product is good for “rebooting” digestive health and making the belly
“smile,” i.e., as improving digestive health. The label uses the conjunction “GoodHealth”
in such a way that the reasonable consumer would likely view the label as
claiming to promote good health.

Although the label could be read as claiming only that
probiotics are good, “Defendant is selling a juice beverage, and the label may
be read by the reasonable consumer as promoting the health benefits of the
beverage, not merely one ingredient in it.” Thus, it was plausible that consumers
would read “GoodBelly” and “GoodHealth” as claims that the drinks are good for
digestive and overall health.

Disclosing the sugar content in the nutrition label was not
sufficient. That wouldn’t suffice to cure the message of good digestive and
overall health as a matter of law.

Although statements (1) and (2) alone would be puffery, “when
read together and in context, the Court cannot determine that the reasonable
consumer would not rely on the label as promoting good digestive and overall

from Blogger http://tushnet.blogspot.com/2023/03/goodbelly-and-goodhealth-plus-label.html

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