Walmart Is Facing Backlash for Allegedly Misleading Shoppers About This

THE BIG-BOX RETAILER HAS JUST BEEN HIT WITH A NEW LAWSUIT.

When it comes to buying groceries, Walmart is the go-to grocer in the U.S. According to FoodIndustry.com, it is not only the largest food retailer in the country, but it also consistently ranks as the leading company in grocery sales—racking up $467 billion in revenue in 2021 alone. But Walmart's overwhelming popularity doesn't mean the company hasn't been called out for missing the mark. Now, the big-box retailer is facing backlash from one consumer over its allegedly misleading practices. Read on to find out why Walmart is under fire.

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Walmart has been at the center of several lawsuits recently.
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Walmart isn't new to being sued. In Nov. 2021, the retailer was sued by the popular footwear brand Vans, which claimed that Walmart had been copying and selling knockoff versions of its own shoes. Then in April of this year, the company got hit with a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over various products it sells, including bedding, towels, and bras. According to the agency, Walmart allegedly falsely implied that these items were "eco-friendly" and made with bamboo, when they are actually made with rayon, which is a synthetic rubber artificially made from bamboo.

It's not just big names targeting Walmart, however. As it turns out, even individual consumers are suing the retailer for alleged misdeeds.

The big-box retailer has just been hit with a new lawsuit.
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Walmart is now facing another lawsuit over one of its products. On July 1, plaintiff Amber Knautz filed a class action suit against Walmart in an Illinois federal court. According to court documents, Knautz is targeting the retailer for its store-brand Great Value Chocolate Caramel Coffee Creamer—claiming the product and Walmart's marketing of it violate both federal and state consumer laws.

In a statement to Best Life, Walmart spokesperson Abby Williams-Bailey said, "We look to our suppliers to provide products which comply with all applicable laws, including labeling. We will respond as appropriate in Court."

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Walmart is allegedly falsely marketing this coffee product.
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Walmart "manufacturers, markets, labels, and sells" this coffee product as a "coffee creamer" under its Great Value brand, according to Knautz. But the plaintiff claims that the product is actually a coffee whitener, not a creamer. As cited in the lawsuit, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines cream as "the liquid milk product high in fat separated from milk, [with] not less than 18 percent milkfat," and coffee cream containing between 18 percent and 30 percent of milkfat.

On the other hand, coffee whiteners "usually contain more corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and fake flavoring, like Irish creme or French vanilla, than actual milk or cream," according to the Cleveland Clinic. Per the Great Value Chocolate Caramel Coffee Creamer's ingredients list, the product "substitutes water and sunflower oil" in place of cream, Knautz's said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that consumers are being misled by the company.
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The lawsuit alleges that Walmart is misleading consumers into buying the chocolate caramel coffee whitener as a milk-based product by referring to it as a coffee creamer and by marketing it with a yellow "ultra-pasteurized" label. According to Knautz, pasteurization is a process that shoppers typically associate with milk-based beverages because they are required by law to undergo this process, as well as prominently disclose this on their labels.

"By representing the Product with the statements, 'Coffee Creamer' and 'Ultra Pasteurized,' consumers are misled because it lacks cream and dairy ingredients beyond a de minimis amount of sodium caseinate, a milk derivative, shown through the ingredient list," the lawsuit states, adding that Knautz says she would have not purchased the product or would have paid less for it if Walmart had not mislead her.

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