SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Coca-Cola touts its “Glaceau Vitamin Water” as a healthy alternative to soft drinks even though a bottle of it has about the same amount of sugar as a can of soda, according to a federal class action.
The water comes in a variety of flavors, including, “defense,” “rescue,” and “energy,” whose labels make claims about the purported health benefits of drinking Vitamin Water, such as: “Rescue is specially formulated to support optimal metabolic function with antioxidants that may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and vitamins necessary for the generation and utilization of energy from food.”
But the class claims Vitamin Water is “really just sugar water with a few added vitamins,” which Coca-Cola mislabeled as healthy to avoid losing revenue due to public concerns about obesity caused in part by sugar-filled drinks such as Coca-Cola. The suit claims Vitamin Water does not even name Coca-Cola anywhere on its packaging.
Coca-Cola’s marketing practices allegedly draw consumer attention away from the significant amount of sugar in Vitamin Water by bombarding them with false promises about its health benefits.
Also sued is Energy Brands dba Glaceau.
Lead plaintiff James Koh seeks punitive damages for fraud and unjust enrichment. The class is represented by Michael Reese with Reese Richman in New York.