October usually brings with it a parade of Halloween-themed candy reminiscent of bats, pumpkins, or ghosts for sugar and trick-or-treat addicts. But a new lawsuit claims that for Hershey's snack foods, There's a fine line between deliciously decorated Halloween candy and an ugly chocolate and peanut butter mess.
These are the many Hershey's Reese's peanut butter products, which are advertised on their packaging with decorative designs carved into the chocolate: a smiling lantern face, ghost eyes and mouth, or football laces.
Cynthia Kelly thought so This was what they were going to give him when he bought a Reese's Peanut Butter pumpkin after seeing its packaging, with a “cute” carved pumpkin, near a supermarket cash register, the lawsuit alleges.
But the chocolate did not contain those decorations, the lawsuit says, adding that the packaging misled buyers like Kelly who expected the designs on Halloween-themed candy.
Hershey spokesman Todd Scott said Washington Post The company does not comment on pending lawsuits.
The class action lawsuit, filed Thursday in Florida District Court, accuses Hershey of using packaging that falsely advertises motifs on Reese's products. Kelly's experience and numerous YouTube videos of consumers and food critics expressing their disappointment in unadorned chocolate have been cited.
“This is a trick, this is not candy.”says one reviewer, holding a Reese's white chocolate in its wrapper, which features a white ghost with sculpted eyes and mouth.
The Hershey Company joins a long list of food companies that have faced lawsuits in recent years over advertising their products, with mixed results. In 2022, a class action lawsuit accused Burger King of misleadingly representing the Whopper burger in ads as larger than it was in real life.
Kellogg's has faced several lawsuits alleging that it falsely advertised the strawberry content of its Strawberry Pop-Tarts. Customers have also filed lawsuits over the marketing of Taco Bell's Mexican pizza, Starbucks mango lemonade, TGI Friday mozzarella sticks, and Red Bull energy drinks.
Lawsuits against Taco Bell and Kellogg's have been dismissed, while lawsuits against Starbucks and Burger King have continued their course.. The cases against Red Bull and TGI Friday's have been settled. Kelly's attorney, Anthony John Russo Jr., represents the plaintiffs in lawsuits against Taco Bell and Burger King.
“Little situations — what some might consider a small situation like this — can lead to unruly behavior by large companies,” Russo previously said. Washington Post Regarding the Burger King case.
The lawsuit against Hershey accuses the company of misleading customers and alleges that deceptive packaging is an attempt to boost sales. Previous versions of Reese's candy containers of the same shape depicted them strictly with smooth, unadorned surfaces and no sculpted designs, according to the lawsuit, and the packaging only changed two to three years ago.
The lawsuit claims that Kelly would not have purchased her chocolate pumpkins from Reese's if it were not for the attractive designs. It also links to dozens of YouTube videos from other consumers sharing Kelly's disappointment.
One video notes that the small text on Reese's packaging appears to describe the decorations carved into the chocolate as a “decorating suggestion.” Another video describes an undecorated Reese's Chocolate Pumpkin as “deformed” and “faceless.”
“I'm amazed,” says another reviewer, before taking a bite of the chocolate. “And the most annoying thing about it is that it's a lot of fun,” he added.
Daniel Wu is a Morning Mix reporter at The Washington Post. He joined The Post as a Metro editorial intern in 2022 and previously worked at the Seattle Times and the San Jose Mercury News.
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