To us here at Abnormal Use, Coca-Cola is a lot of things. A delicious beverage on a summer afternoon. An entertaining museum in downtown Atlanta. A title sponsor of the longest race in NASCAR. While Coca-Cola may be a lot of great things, we never considered it particularly “healthy” or “natural.” A purported class of Coke consumers in Massachusetts, however, apparently felt otherwise. Accordingly, they have filed a new suit in federal court alleging that they were duped by Coca-Cola into believing that the product was, in fact, healthy.
According to the complaint, Coca-Cola allegedly found itself facing decreased market share due to increasing consumer preference for beverages without artificial flavoring or chemical preservatives. Rather than alter its product to satisfy consumer demand, Coca-Cola, the consumers allege, embarked on a campaign to intentionally deceive them into believing that Coke is natural and healthy. In addition, the consumers allege that Coca-Cola misrepresented its history by claiming the beverage has not deviated from its original 1886 formula. Because the product is purportedly misbranded, the consumers allege that the product that they purchased has zero value. Had the consumers known about the misrepresentations, they allegedly would not have purchased the product. The suit is captioned Marino v. Coca-Cola Co., 1:14-cv-13446 (D. Mass.) and contains causes of action for breach of warranties, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, and violations of federal and state food labeling laws.
While we are huge proponents of Coca-Cola, we do not pretend to know anything about its ingredients nor do we care. We just know that Coke is delicious. Certainly, no product should be mislabeled whether intentionally or unintentionally. Even if mislabeled, we question whether any of these consumers have actually been damaged. When we first heard of this lawsuit, we thought it must have been the dubious work of The Onion. Who really purchases Coke under the guise that it is healthy? It has been common knowledge for years that sodas, Coke included, are not health foods. Unless these consumers are ostriches with their heads in the sand, we assume they purchased Cokes with the same knowledge as the rest of us.