Jury Finds in Favor of Coca-Cola in POM False Advertising Suit

UPDATE:  The jury found in favor of Coca-Cola and against POM Wonderful in the trial over whether Coca-Cola misled consumers into believing that Coke’s “Minute Maid Enhanced Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored 100% Blend” contained more than a very small amount of pomegranate juice.  The jury deliberated for less than one day following a six-day trial.

Coke’s position was primarily that (1) pomegranate juice has a strong taste and a small amount imparts flavor and (2) consumers understand the difference between a juice’s featured flavor and its ingredient statement.  POM, in contrast, argued that Coca-Cola’s labeling gave it an unfair competitive advantage because pomegranates have unique health benefits sought by consumers who were misled into believing they could obtain those benefits in Coca-Cola’s “100%” juice-blend product.  Although this case puts a damper on POM’s avowed intent to “clean up the industry,” POM’s success at the Supreme Court and shifting public opinion on labeling are likely to curtail the labeling practices of similar products in the foreseeable future.

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