Over 100 private citizens are seeking $5m in damages as they allege Mentos 50-piece sugar-free gum containers they purchased gave the false impression that the product contained more gum pieces.
They say Mentos containers have the capacity for 70 pieces of gum but contain only 50, leaving a slack-fill of 29% which has been concealed by colorful plastic wrapping. They contend Perfetti has deliberately done this for flavors such as PureFresh and products under the Up2U label to create a difference between the actual capacity of the container and the volume of the product.
Mentos 50-piece gum products in question
- Pure Fresh – Fresh Mint, Spearmint & Pure White
- Ice Flurry
- Bubble Fresh Cotton Candy
- Up2U Sweet Peppermint/Spearmint & Strawberry/Blackberry
“Defendant has deceived plaintiffs and other consumers nationwide by mischaracterizing the volume of its products [and]… has collected millions of dollars from the sale of its products that it would not otherwise earned,” reads the complaint.
“...In comparison to the Mentos products, other chewing gum products packaged in similar containers have transparent lids to allow consumers to easily determine how much chewing gum content they are actually receiving."
Perfetti: Packs prevent crushing
However, Perfetti refutes these accusations. Bethany Ammons, legal & general affairs coordinator at Perfetti Van Melle USA, told ConfectioneryNews: “We consider the lawsuit to have no merit and will vigorously defend against the claims.”
Perfetti’s legal affairs spokesperson Ammons said the company packages its products in line with industry standards and applicable laws.
“Our gum products are packaged to allow for settling and filling in a conventional manner and to prevent crushing during transportation. The package prominently tells consumers exactly how many items are inside the container and also provides the product weight, as is readily apparent to anyone handling it,” she said.
The claimants have asked for a jury trial.
United States District Court Eastern District of New York
Michelle Hu, Michelle Perry, John Doe (Illinois), John Doe (Michigan), John Doe (New Jersey), John Doe (Florida) and John Does 1-100 v Perfetti Van Melle USA
Case no: 1:15-cv-03742-KAM-JO