The CSPI had accused PepsiCo of “misleadingly marketing Naked Juice as predominantly containing high-value ingredients such as acai berry and kale, when the predominant ingredient is usually cheap, nutrient-poor apple juice.”
Naked Juice will make certain changes to the way it labels and markets its products, such as changing the imagery when necessary to reflect the predominant ingredients. The composition of the beverages will not change.
PepsiCo says it has listened to the CSPI in order to improve the information offered to consumers. PepsiCo continues to ‘expressly deny’ the allegations made by the lawsuit, but through the settlement the parties say an agreement has been made without any admission of wrongdoing.
Kale and orange juice
The lawsuit filed by the CSPI in October took issue with Naked Juice’s emphasis on the high-value ingredients, such as kale, by naming each product after such ingredients and using corresponding imagery.
It said this was ‘false and misleading’ because ‘Naked beverages predominantly consists of cheaper and less nutritious ingredients’.
For example, Naked Juice’s Kale Blazer features kale leafy greens and cucumber slices on the label, but the CSPI emphasizes the primary ingredient is orange juice.
Products also contain a ‘no sugar added’ label on the bottle, which the CSPI said implies the product is low in sugar (a 15oz bottle contains eight teaspoons of sugar, largely from orange and apple juice).
PepsiCo, however, responded that the lawsuit was ‘baseless’ as every bottle of Naked Juice clearly identifies the fruit and vegetables within, and that no sugar is added to its products. However, having worked with the CSPI in a ‘constructive manner’ it will make some changes to labels and marketing.
The changes will include:
- Naked Juice will revise imagery where necessary to more clearly reflect predominant ingredients.
- Naked Juice will make some changes to the ‘no sugar added’ claim on the front label to be clear that the product is not a low-calorie or low-sugar food. The ‘no sugar added’ font will be reduced and will be accompanied by an asterisk that references the disclaimer ‘not a low calorie food. See nutrition panel for information on sugar and calorie count’.
- Descriptive wording on the side panel will be amended to reflect predominant ingredients where necessary. For example, ‘Kale is king of the garden. And when it’s blended with cucumber, spinach, celery and a pinch of ginger, you get a royal roundtable of yum. Long live greens’ will be amended to ‘Kale is king of the garden. When it’s blended with orange, apple, cucumber, spinach, celery and a pinch of ginger, you get a royal roundtable of yum.’
- PepsiCo and the CSPI have aligned to certain principles designed to help consumers readily identify the nature and contents of Naked products, including whether such product contains only ‘fruit juice’ or ‘veggie juice’ or ‘fruit and veggie juice.’ (Fruit juice is higher in sugar than vegetable juice).
- Naked Juice’s voluntary disclosure of calories on the front of the package will remain (i.e. 190 for Kale Blazer and 260 for Green Machine).
Naked will make calories more prominent on its Nutrition Facts labels sooner that legally required. Corresponding changes will be made in marketing and advertising of Naked products.
The changes will be rolled out over the next eight months.
A statement from PepsiCo says: “We’re pleased to have reached this agreement. Our number one priority is always the consumer who buys our Naked juices and smoothies.
“When CSPI said our labels were confusing, we listened to what they had to say out of concern for our consumers. We are proud of every bottle of Naked and happy to highlight and celebrate all the goodness that’s inside.
“The ingredients for the entire Naked Juice beverage portfolio will remain exactly the same; only the labels will change.
“We were heartened that CSPI praised us publicly for hearing their concerns, for demonstrating good faith, and for trying to deliver more benefits to our consumers. Likewise, we are thankful that CSPI worked with us in a constructive manner toward a positive resolution.”
CSPI litigation director Maia Kats said, “The seriousness with which Naked heard our concerns, and the good faith they brought to our negotiations, is delivering truly positive benefits for consumers.
“Consumers deserve to know at a glance what they’re buying, and Naked’s labeling and marketing enhancements accomplish that. We commend the Naked Juice team for its cooperation and commitment to transparency.”