Photo: Vita Coco
Looks like Rihanna might want to find a new ad campaign. Vita Coco – the company that’s pretty much responsible for the coconut water craze of 2009 – has agreed to settle a $10 million class action lawsuit over allegedly misleading nutritional claims, New York law firm Labaton Sucharow LLP announced.
“For the millions of consumers who pay for products that claim to improve their health, this settlement sends a message that companies will be held accountable when they exaggerate or misstate the health benefits of their products,” said Kellie Lerner, attorney for the plaintiffs.
According to plaintiffs, Vita Coco’s claims that its products were “super-hydrating,” “nutrient-packed,” “mega-electrolyte,” and healthy “super-water” were exaggerated. They pointed to an independent study that showed the drinks didn’t pack near as many electrolytes as advertisements implied.
For its part, Vita Coco is still standing by its products.
“Although we had strong legal and factual defenses to plaintiffs’ claims we felt it was in the company’s and our consumers’ best interest to resolve this case quickly so that we could get back to the business of producing and distributing the Vita Coco beverages that so many consumers nationwide enjoy every day,” Michael Kirban, the brand’s co-founder, said in a statement.
Under the settlement, rather than focusing on the electrolyte content, the company plans to roll out new labelling in May that will highlight the drink’s “the natural variability.”
Here’s what else Vita Coco agreed to:
-Up to $5 million cash refunds and product vouchers for all class members
-Regular testing of the nutritional contents of its products
-$3 million to charitable institutions that promote healthy living
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