On Tuesday, Gerald DeLoss and Stan Zakinov filed a complaint in the Central District of California against Beyond Meat, Inc. for falsely advertising their products as purely organic when they contain significant amounts of synthetic ingredients.
Beyond Meat is a producer of meat substitute products primarily made of “peas, mung beans, fava beans, and brown rice, plant-based fats such as cocoa butter, carbohydrates such as potato starch” and other ingredients. Their CEO was quoted to have claimed that there is “nothing artificial” in Beyond Meat products. While most of their products have 20%-40% of the recommended daily value of protein, they “overstate” the values since plant proteins are less digestible than meat. Therefore, only 65-89% of the protein is digestible for each of the ingredients, so they contain a much lower value of usable proteins. The complaint quoted Beyond Meat’s CEO as saying “our products deliver greater or equal levels of protein than their animal-based counterparts” which the plaintiffs claimed is “materially false” as most meat products can obtain a higher daily value of protein as beef, chicken and other animal meats have a higher level of digestible protein.
The plaintiffs were “mislead” by these “false” representations and argued that Beyond Meat “reaped enormous profits” from materially misleading statements and advertising. Recently, the defendant updated their website detailing their carbohydrate, methylcellulose, which is a “synthetically made filler” and commonly used as a “cheap additive,” further shedding doubt on the CEO’s claim that there is “nothing artificial” in their products. As a result, the plaintiffs are suing for breach of express and implied warranty, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraud by omission, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, a violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act and California’s False Advertising Law and Unfair Competition Law, and violations of Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
The plaintiff is seeking class certification, injunctive relief enjoining Beyond Meat to engage in a corrective advertising campaign, declaratory relief, restitution and disgorgement, actual, statutory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.
The plaintiff is represented by Lockridge Grindal Nauen L.L.P., Gustafson Gluek, PLLC, Wexler Boley & Elgersma LLP, Morris Kandinov LLP, Saltz, Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, P.C. and Stephen & Stephens, LLP.