Judge dismisses lawsuit taking issue with ‘slightly sweet’ claims on Coca-Cola’s Gold Peak tea

In a lawsuit* filed in February 2020 – one of a series of complaints taking issue with terms such as ‘sorta sweet,’ ‘slightly sweet,’ and ‘lightly sweetened’ – plaintiff Amanda Mazella argued that a reasonable consumer would infer from the ‘slightly sweet’ claim that the tea is low in sugar and low in calories.

“In purchasing and consuming the Product, consumers are misled to believe they are consuming products which are low in added sugars when the Product is high in added sugars,” ​said Mazella, who is represented by New York-based attorney Spencer Sheehan, best-known for his ‘vanilla’ lawsuits.

“Defendant’s branding and packaging of the Product is designed to – and does – deceive, mislead, and defraud plaintiffs and consumers.”

Coca-Cola: Slightly Sweet is a subjective statement about the product’s taste. It says nothing about sugar or calorie content’

Coca-Cola, which is not commenting on the lawsuit, argued in court filings that the calorie count for the ‘slightly sweet’ variant of Gold Peak tea (90 cals) is listed prominently on the front of the pack, while the back of the label “plainly and accurately discloses the beverage’s sugar and calorie content.”

​Slightly Sweet,’ added Coca-Cola’s attorneys, “is a subjective statement about the product’s taste. It says nothing about sugar or calorie content, and no reasonable consumer would think otherwise.”

Judge: The label clearly states sugar and calorie content

In an order dismissing the case filed late last month, United States District Judge Nelson S Roman sided with Coca-Cola, arguing that Mazella “has not plausibly alleged that ‘Slightly Sweet’ on the product label would cause a reasonable consumer to assume that it is “low sugar’ and thus low calories.”

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