Court Rejects Fraud Case Against Dr Pepper

Image: Rob Young, CC BY 2.0

Jan. 2, 2020

Food Dive – The parent company of Dr Pepper (now part of Keurig Dr Pepper) did not intentionally mislead consumers to believe Diet Dr Pepper promises weight loss or healthy weight management, and the company did not violate California’s consumer fraud laws, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled.

Dive Brief:

  • The parent company of Dr Pepper (now part of Keurig Dr Pepper) did not intentionally mislead consumers to believe Diet Dr Pepper promises weight loss or healthy weight management, and the company did not violate California’s consumer fraud laws, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled.
  • In the decision filed Dec. 30, Judge Jay Bybee wrote California resident Shana Becerra had not adequately shown a reasonable consumer would associate drinking diet soda with health benefits. Becerra claimed the company misled consumers by using the word “diet” on its labels even though studies show aspartame, the artificial sweetener in Diet Dr Pepper, is likely to cause weight gain and has no weight loss benefit.
  • “Diet soft drinks are common in the marketplace,” Bybee wrote in the decision. “Just because some consumers may unreasonably interpret the term differently does not render the use of ‘diet’ in a soda’s brand name false or deceptive.” Read more. 

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