This Woman Is Suing Kraft For $5 Million – Because Their Macaroni Preparation Time Is Misleading

A Florida woman has accused Kraft Heinz of misleading advertising, based on the time it takes to prepare a single-serving cup of microwavable mac and cheese.

The company states that its Velveeta Shells & Cheese gets “ready in 3 1/2” minutes. However, Amanda Ramirez says that’s only the amount of time each cup needs to be microwaved. The actual preparation process, from stirring in water to letting the cheese sauce thicken, takes longer.

A 15-page class-action lawsuit was filed after this claim. 

“As a result of the false and misleading representations, the Product is sold at a premium price, approximately no less than $10.99 for eight 2.39 oz cups, excluding tax and sales, higher than similar products, represented in a non-misleading way, and higher than it would be sold for absent the misleading representations and omissions,” the court filing reads.

The lawsuit seeks more than $5 million in damages and looks to cover consumers in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, New Mexico, Alaska, Iowa, Tennessee, and Virginia who purchased the mac and cheese cups during the applicable statute of limitations period. It says there are more than 100 such customers since the product is sold online and in stores across the country.

The Kraft Heinz Company called the lawsuit “frivolous” in a statement provided to NPR, saying it “will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint.

“Defendant’s representations and omissions regarding the Product went beyond the specific representations on the packaging, as they incorporated the extra-labeling promises and commitments to quality, transparency and putting customers first, that it has been known for,” it says.

It’s unclear which direction will be taken by Ramirez’s case.

Another member of Ramirez’s legal team is Spencer Sheehan, a New York-based plaintiff’s attorney who in recent years has filed hundreds of lawsuits alleging misleading claims in food advertising and packaging.

As NPR has reported, Sheehan files at a rate of about three such lawsuits per week, and “his prolificacy has almost single-handedly caused a historic spike in the number of class action lawsuits against food and beverage companies — up more than 1000% since 2008.”

Sheehan has filed more than 100 suits alleging that several products, from soda to soy milk, market “vanilla” products that actually use synthetic vanilla or other flavors either in addition to or instead of the more expensive vanilla bean.

As Sheehan told NPR last October: “I guess I’ve always been the type who would become annoyed [and] never liked it when companies cheated people for small amounts it would be difficult to recoup.”

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