Are There Enough Strawberries in a Kellogg’s Strawberry Pop-Tart? A Court Might Decide
What’s in a Pop-Tart? Not enough strawberries, according to lawsuits filed against Kellogg Co. , which makes the pantry staple.
Over the past year, at least three lawsuits have been filed claiming the brand’s strawberry-flavored varieties don’t contain enough actual strawberries relative to other, lesser-known fruit ingredients.
The latest suit, filed in the Southern District of New York last week and focused on Pop-Tart’s “Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry” flavor, alleges that the products contain more pears and apples than strawberries. The case asks for $5 million in relief.
A separate complaint filed in federal court in Illinois in August raised similar concerns over “Frosted Strawberry” Pop-Tarts.
“The Product’s common or usual name of ‘Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry Toaster Pastries,’ is false, deceptive, and misleading, because it contains mostly non-strawberry fruit ingredients,” according to the latest Pop-Tart complaint.
A spokesperson for Kellogg said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
Sam Hahn, a messenger based outside Los Angeles, said he discovered Kellogg’s strawberry Pop-Tarts as a child at school, and they remain his favorite to this day. The news, though, came as a bit of a shock.
“There’s apple and pear in strawberry Pop-Tarts?” said Mr. Hahn, 36. “It’s like you just told me there’s no Santa Claus.” Though surprised, Mr. Hahn said he wasn’t offended by the presence of the other fruit. “If there was raw meat or something crazy in there, that’s one thing,” he said. “When you eat a Pop-Tart, you know it isn’t organic or vegan.”
The lawsuits, all filed by a Great Neck, N.Y.-based lawyer named Spencer Sheehan, take aim at a food brand that has survived decades’ worth of shifting consumer tastes and dietary trends. Sales of Pop-Tarts have climbed for decades, their convenience and nostalgia factor helping the crinkly foil-wrapped pastries thrive despite other sugary breakfast products falling by the wayside.
Mr. Sheehan said one goal of the lawsuits, which are seeking class-action status, is to push Kellogg to modify its labeling.
“Nobody’s saying that you expected to get everything from a strawberry. You’re not eating a fresh strawberry, obviously,” Mr. Sheehan said. “But if you’re going to call it strawberry, you either ought to have all strawberries in there or just call it something else,” he said.
Ashley Profitt, a housekeeper in Boone, N.C., said the lawsuits’ charges appeared to confirm her long-held suspicions. “They’re very minuscule with the amount of strawberry they put in there,” said Ms. Profitt, 24.
While Ms. Profitt said she still enjoys eating Pop-Tarts on occasion, she said she’s always wished they contained more fruit filling. She said she recently has been baking more of her own food, including banana and pumpkin bread, which she said provide her complete control over produce levels.