Several of PepsiCo’s products recently received a packaging makeover — all thanks to a lawsuit against Naked Juice that cost the company millions of dollars.
In 2013, five separate class action settlements were filed against Naked Juice because the product claimed to be all-natural. In reality, the product contained artificial ingredients. PepsiCo, the company that owns Naked, settled the lawsuit with a class action settlement of $9 million dollars.
Nick Shepard, a BYU alumnus and a law school graduate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, defined a class action settlement.
“Class action just means that there’s a large number of people that would have a cause of action against the company. Millions of people bought that drink because they thought it was healthy and all-natural and didn’t have artificial sweeteners,” Shepard said. “Instead of making all those people individually sue PepsiCo, a judge might certify a class action.”
He further explained that once a class action is approved, attorneys will notify people who could be considered injured parties, eligible to join the class and receive a small sum as reimbursement.
After the settlement, PepsiCo changed the packaging on several other products that claimed to be natural, including the “Simply Natural” line of chips, Natural Quaker Granola.
Customers of Naked Juice were upset about the misleading packaging of the product; however, according to Dr. Merrill Christensen, a long-time professor and adviser at BYU, some artificial ingredients are actually beneficial to eat.
“The fact is that these products make our foods a whole lot safer, and, in some cases, more nutritious,” Christensen said. “Most Americans upon reflection would be grateful to have (these ingredients); otherwise a loaf of bread that you buy today would be molded out in two days.”
According to Christensen, artificial ingredients added to products must be approved by the Federal Drug Administration first.
“Food additives are intended to increase safety, shelf life, flavor and the nutritional value,” Christensen said.
When asked how to maintain a healthy diet, Christensen responded that the key to a healthy lifestyle is variety.
“Variety is the best assurance that you’ll get the nutrients you need, but you won’t get too much,” Christensen said.
Despite the all-natural craze that is sweeping America and caused a lawsuit against Naked Juice, it’s okay to eat foods with additives — in fact, it may even be beneficial.