What’s Up With That? #78: Crunch time

The current leader in Uncle Swan’s Moron of the Month Sweepstakes is Janine Sugawara of San Diego, who sued PepsiCo Inc. in federal court because the crunchberries in Cap’n Crunch cereal are not actual berries.

Ms. Sugawara’s lawsuit alleged that during the four years she purchased Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries, PepsiCo’s subsidiary Quaker Oats defrauded her by leading her to believe that crunchberries were really fruit. Imagine Janine’s shock when, after four years, she discovered that she was actually eating little balls of corn cereal flavored with strawberry concentrate.

In dismissing Sugawara’s suit, Judge Morrison C. England Jr. wrote:

This Court is not aware of, nor has Plaintiff alleged the existence of, any actual fruit referred to as a “crunchberry.” Furthermore, the “Crunchberries” depicted on the PDP are round, crunchy, brightly-colored cereal balls, and the PDP (principal display panel — legalese for “side of the cereal box”) clearly states both that the Product contains “sweetened corn and oat cereal” and that the cereal is “enlarged to show texture.” Thus, a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into believing that the Product in the instant case contained a fruit that does not exist.

Further, Judge England found:

Plaintiff claims Defendant expressly warranted that the Product contains berries. However, that simply is not the case. Defendant chose the moniker “Crunchberries” for its brightly colored cereal balls. As far as this Court has been made aware, there is no such fruit growing in the wild or occurring naturally in any part of the world. Furthermore, a reasonable consumer would have understood the Product packaging to expressly warrant only that the Product contained sweetened corn and oat cereal, which it did. Accordingly, Defendant did not promise Plaintiff that the Product contained fruit, nor did the Product contain anything other than that which was actually expressly warranted.

Crunchberries don’t grow in the wild? Say it ain’t so, Judge!

It’s people like Janine Sugawara — who previously sued Kellogg’s because Froot Loops do not contain actual “froot” — who make a mockery of the American legal system… which does not, in fact, need assistance in that regard.

Next on Sugawara’s hit list: Keebler cookies, which, come to find out, are baked in a factory, and not by elves with magic ovens in hollow trees.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Aimless Riffing, Food Glorious Food, Taking Umbrage, What's Up With That?, Wonderful World of Advertising

One Comment on “What’s Up With That? #78: Crunch time”

  1. Steve Roth Says:

    You missed the best quote, Michael. Here’s the last paragraph of the judge’s opinion:
    “Under normal circumstances, when this Court grants
    a Motion to Dismiss, the Plaintiff is given a reasonable
    period of time, usually twenty (20) days, in which to file
    an amended complaint. In this case, however, it is simply
    impossible for Plaintiff to file an amended complaint
    stating a claim based upon these facts. The survival of the
    instant claim would require this Court to ignore all
    concepts of personal responsibility and common sense.
    The Court has no intention of allowing that to happen.”


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