When the sun finally sets on the 21st century, and hordes of leather-bound, Segway-riding warriors roam the decaying remnants of what used to be the United States, fighting over the depleted reserves left over from the Gasoline Wars of 2058, a lonely scribe will sit down to pen the final historical accounts of our once-mighty society. And in his journal, next to the year “2015,” he will simply mark down the words “Fruit Snack Scandal.” For the latest Trial Of The Century has begun, and as Fortune reports, it involves a class action lawsuit against the makers of Welch’s Fruit Snacks, alleging deceptive marketing for a food item that is “no more healthful than candy.”
The suit claims the manufacturer, Promotion In Motion (really, crappy snack-food company? That’s the rhyme you went with?), falsely advertised the little Day-Glo nightmares as possessing “significant amounts of the actual fruits shown in the marketing and on the labeling of the product, were nutritious and healthful to consume, and were more healthful than similar products.” The company declined an interview but released a statement saying, “Our labeling is truthful and gives consumers the information they need to make informed decisions.” Indeed, it’s tough to see how anyone could’ve mistaken the advertising as suggesting there’s something healthy going on here.
In a nice and succinct breakdown of the case, io9 points out the lawsuit essentially hinges on what’s commonly known as the federal “jelly bean rule,” which basically says that producers can’t sneak junk food into the healthy category just by including some vitamin additives. It’s a rule the makers of Vitaminwater know all too well. But until that time, Promotion In Motion will continue to package what are basically Dots with a healthier-sounding name and sell them as a supposedly sensible part of the lunch you pack for your kids. Presumably, this lawsuit gives pause to any plans on the part of Jim Beam to move forward with its “A healthier way to get to sleep!” campaign.