Welch's Fruit Snacks Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over "Preservative-Free" Claims

welchs fruit snacks

Welch's Fruit Snacks Sued: "Preservative-Free" Label Misleading?

A new class action lawsuit alleges Welch's deceptively markets its Fruit Snacks as "preservative-free" despite containing citric and ascorbic acid, common preservatives. The lawsuit, Small v. Welch Foods Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, accuses Welch's of violating consumer protection laws.

"No Preservatives" label challenged

In the lawsuit, New York resident Guan Small argues that Welch's "No Preservatives" label is misleading because both citric and ascorbic acid function as preservatives in the fruit snacks. According to the complaint, these acids extend shelf life by stabilizing pH levels and preventing oxidation, which preserves color and inhibits harmful bacteria growth.

Targeting health-conscious consumers

Small claims Welch's uses the "preservative-free" label to attract health-conscious consumers who prioritize natural ingredients. The lawsuit alleges this misrepresentation leads consumers to pay a premium for Welch's Fruit Snacks when they might choose alternative snacks if they were aware of the preservatives.

Seeking damages on behalf of consumers

Small seeks to represent all U.S. consumers who purchased Welch's Fruit Snacks believing they were preservative-free. The lawsuit accuses Welch's of violating New York General Business Law and unfair business practices. Small is requesting certification of the class action, injunctive relief, attorney fees and costs, and damages exceeding $5 million.

Not Welch's first class action lawsuit

This lawsuit adds to Welch's history of facing consumer claims. In 2022, the company settled a lawsuit for $1.5 million regarding misleading heart-health claims on certain juice products. Another 2015 lawsuit challenged the "made with real fruit" marketing, arguing the snacks are no healthier than candy.

The plaintiff and the proposed class are represented by Israel Rosenberg, Alec Leslie, and Julian C. Diamond of Bursor & Fisher P.A.

The Welch’s fruit snacks class action lawsuit is Small v. Welch Foods Inc., Case No. 1:24-cv-03547-MMG, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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