The Kellogg Co. has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that it deceptively marketed cereals and snack bars with excessive amounts of sugar, and to change its marketing approach for those products.
The suit was filed in 2016 in a federal court in California over marketing for Raisin Bran, Smart Start and Frosted Mini-Wheat cereals and Nutri-Grain breakfast bars. It charged that Kellogg deceived consumers by marketing these products with claims like “wholesome goodness” and “lightly sugared” when in fact they consisted of up to 40% added sugars.
Without admitting any wrongdoing, Kellogg settled the suit by agreeing to pay $20 million. This amount will be split between cash compensation and vouchers for Kellogg products, which consumers will be able to access through a website. Kellogg also agreed to stop using terms like “healthy,” “wholesome” and “nutritious” on Smart Start and Raisin Bran.
Federal district judge Lucy Koh must approve the settlement. Koh denied Kellogg’s attempt to dismiss the suit in 2017 and certified cereal purchasers as a class in August 2018, while denying certification to buyers of Nutri-Grain bars.
Another judge in the same district dismissed a similar lawsuit against General Mills in August, three years after it was filed.