Facing false advertising lawsuits, Canada Dry drops claim it is ‘made from real ginger’

Facing false advertising lawsuits, Canada Dry drops claim it is ‘made from real ginger’
Top Stories
Rather than go to trial to defend its ginger content, Canada Dry ginger ale will no longer claim to be “Made from Real Ginger,” as part of a proposed settlement to a series of U.S. class action lawsuits over false advertising.

The company that makes the popular soft drink, Keurig Dr. Pepper, will also offer payments to people who purchased Canada Dry for personal use in the United States since 2013.

Those payments are capped at $5.20 per household without proof of purchase, and at $40 per household with proof of purchase, according to the proposed settlement, which does not apply to Canadian sales.

The company is now trying to give broad notice to anyone who might qualify for these payments, in anticipation of final court approval in April, according to Van Beckwith, a lawyer for Keurig Dr. Pepper.

A minuscule amount of a ginger flavour extract

The New York lawsuit, for example, alleges violations of state business law including “common law fraud, deceit and/or misrepresentation, breach of express and implied warranties and unjust enrichment.”

As a brand, Canada Dry dates to the 1890 opening of a carbonated water plant in Toronto by John J. McLaughlin. His “Canada Dry” Pale Ginger Ale was widely sold in Canada by 1904, and soon expanded to New York, where it was a popular mix for home brew liquor during Prohibition, and globally by the 1930s. New York remains its retail “heartland,” according to court records.

Today, Canada Dry is made with carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, preservatives and natural flavours, which one of the lawsuits claims include only “a minuscule amount of a ginger flavour extract.” Research by the New York complainant’s lawyer pegs the actual ginger compound content of Canada Dry at two parts per million, which is below the threshold for human taste, and far lower than any amount that could have health benefits.

Health benefits are a key aspect of the dispute. Flat ginger ale is a common folk remedy for an upset stomach, for example, and lawyers in the New York case have claimed Keurig Dr. Pepper added the “Real Ginger” claim to the labelling to “cultivate a wholesome and healthful image.” The aim, according to the lawsuit, was to position Canada Dry as a “BFY” option, meaning “Better For You.”

The claims on packaging deceive and mislead reasonable customers

This included a television ad, “Jack’s Ginger Farm,” about a woman taking a ginger ale out of a cooler at a picnic and finding it was connected, through the ground, to a handsome ginger farmer.

It appears to have worked. Court records in the New York action allege Keurig Dr. Pepper saw sales increase by almost 9% in just the first six months of adding the “Made from Real Ginger” claim to the packaging.

The California judge cited internal company documents that suggested 30% of Canada Dry consumers who increased their consumption did so because of expected health benefits from real ginger.

“In truth, DPSG’s soft drink is not made from real ginger,” reads the claim in New York District Court. The claims on packaging “deceive and mislead reasonable customers into believing that (Canada Dry is) made using ginger root — i.e. the spice made by chopping or powdering the root of the ginger plant — and not minuscule amounts of flavouring ‘extracts.’”

This lawsuit was brought by Julie Fletcher of Bolivar, N.Y., near the border with Pennsylvania. She claimed to have often bought it for her sick children, thinking it was a “healthier alternative to regular sodas.”

Katie Gilroy, director of corporate communications at Keurig Dr. Pepper, did not respond before deadline to a request for comment.

The decline of brony culture might have been inevitable, fads tend to fade, but for some unlikely fans of My Little Pony, the novelty is simply maturing

Twenty years ago, then-Toronto mayor Mel Lastman called in the army to shovel some snow — and the ridicule from other provinces continues to this day

I saw this crazy-yellow product, says chef Rob Gentile. And I looked at (my chefs) and said, ‘What the hell is this?’

With the arrival of Burtynsky as a high-profile advocate, the science campaign to define and identify the Anthropocene gets a fresh publicity boost
Read more on National Post
News Topics :
Similar Articles :
Top Stories
Canada Dry Ginger Ale will continue to be marketed in Canada as “Made from Real Ginger” even though the soft drink’s producer has agreed to remove this controversial claim from...
WATERBURY, Vt. Keurig Green Mountain struck a deal with Dr. Pepper Snapple to make single serve capsules for use in Keurig s soon to be released cold beverage system. The companies did...
NEW YORK Making a glass of Coke at home will soon be possible, if you don t mind paying more than $300 for a machine that sits on your...
A bicyclist passes in front of a billboard for Coca Cola outside a restaurant in Atlanta in this July 2012 file photo. AP / David Goldman Published Tuesday, September 29,...
JAB Holding Co.’s audacious effort to build a food and beverage empire, which already includes Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Caribou Coffee, has taken a surprise turn into soft drinks. The investment firm’s...