In a notable legal development, Hershey, the renowned chocolate giant, is facing a $5 million lawsuit filed by a Florida customer, Cynthia Kelly, over allegations of misleading packaging on its holiday-themed peanut butter treats. The class action lawsuit, filed in Tampa, Florida, raises questions about consumer expectations and advertising practices in the food industry.
The Case at a Glance
Kelly’s lawsuit centers on her purchase of Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins from an Aldi supermarket, for which she paid $4.49. The packaging of these treats featured artistic designs, including “cute looking” eyes and mouth on the peanut butter pumpkins. However, upon opening the bag, Kelly discovered that the actual candies lacked not only the facial features but any carvings at all. This discrepancy between the packaging and the product forms the basis of her complaint.
Wider Implications of the Lawsuit
The lawsuit extends beyond the Halloween treats. Kelly is also contesting a football-themed peanut butter product by Hershey, which allegedly does not feature the laces depicted on its packaging. The lawsuit seeks damages for all Florida purchasers of several Hershey products, including Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins, Peanut Butter Bats, Peanut Butter Footballs, and a Christmas assortment of Peanut Butter Snowmen, Stockings, and Bells.
Consumer Deception Concerns
Kelly’s lawsuit accuses Hershey of being “materially misleading,” alleging that “numerous consumers have been tricked and misled by the pictures on the products’ packaging.” This case highlights the growing concern among consumers regarding the accuracy of product packaging and advertising, particularly in the food industry.
As of now, Hershey has not issued a comment on the case. The lawsuit, however, has garnered attention for its potential to impact how food companies depict their products on packaging and the expectations set for consumers.
The lawsuit against Hershey by Cynthia Kelly puts a spotlight on the responsibilities of food companies in accurately representing their products. It underscores the importance of consumer trust and the potential repercussions when this trust is perceived to be violated. As the case progresses, it will likely become a point of reference in discussions about advertising ethics and consumer rights in the food industry.
The case is Kelly v Hershey Co, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, No. 23-02977.