You may have heard about the lawsuit in California in which a woman is suing Kraft Foods because its guacamole dip doesn’t contain enough avocado. Here are a few facts about the case:
The plaintiff bought “Kraft Dips, Guacamole” in order to make a three layered dip. When she served her guests, they and her were disappointed that the so-called guacamole didn’t taste “avocadoey.”
The plaintiff checked the ingredients and was surprised to learn that there is very little avocado in the product. In fact, it contains less than 2% avocado. One would expect guacamole to contain about 95% avocado (unless it has tomatoes in it, in which case it would be anywhere from 75-90% avocado).
Kraft claims there is no case because the ingredients and nutritional information are clearly listed on the package.
Judge Blork’s Verdict
There is no case. As the defendant says, the ingredients are clearly listed, and the package is labeled as a guacamole flavored dip, not as guacamole. It is up to the consumer to make him or herself aware of what he or she is buying. Caveat Emptor (“let the buyer beware”) is more correctly interpreted as “let the buyer make himself aware.”
In other words, in buying and selling, it is the seller’s responsibility to disclose the facts of the item and to not hide any information about the product. It is the buyer’s responsibility to make him or herself aware of, and to understand, what he or she is buying.
Loathe as I am to defend a food corporation, those are simply the facts of the case. However, both parties should feel shamed over this, but for different reasons.
Shame on The Defendant
Here are the ingredients for Kraft Dips, Guacamole:
Ingredients: WATER, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COCONUT AND SOYBEAN OIL, CORN SYRUP, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE (FROM MILK), FOOD STARCH MODIFIED, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF POTATOES, SALT, AVOCADO, DEFATTED SOY FLOUR, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, TOMATOES, SODIUM CASEINATE, VINEGAR, LACTIC ACID, ONIONS, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL, GELATIN, XANTHAN GUM, CAROB BEAN GUM, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, SPICE, WITH SODIUM BENZOATE AND POTASSIUM SORBATE AS PRESERVATIVES, GARLIC, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, CITRIC ACID, YELLOW 6, YELLOW 5, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BLUE 1, ARTIFICIAL COLOR. (Source.)
What the heck is that? Shame on you, Kraft, for selling this kind of chemical crap and calling it “food.” Forget about “guacamole,” this is nothing more than barely edible factory junk.
Shame on the Plaintiff
One should never trust a food company to look after one’s interests. One should always read labels and learn how to decode food industry marketing claims, buzzwords, and doublespeak.
In this case, the product is not even explicitly labeled as “guacamole.” It is labeled as “Kraft Dips” with “guacamole”written in smaller type, off to the side. Kraft Dips come in a variety of flavors, including French Onion, Creamy Ranch, and Bacon & Cheddar. Would the plaintiff have expected to find chunks of real bacon and cheddar in one of them? Would you expect to find a ranch, with little horses and sheep, in another?
The guacamole flavored dip was likely on a shelf containing Kraft Dips of other flavors, which should have been the first clue that this is not a “pure” product, but rather a “flavored” one. The next clue should have been that the product comes from a multinational food mega-corporation (there are all kinds of reasons why that makes them untrustworthy). Finally, it was simply a matter of reading the ingredients, which are clearly marked on the package.
Read the label. It should be “rule number 1” for anyone who buys groceries. Most packaged food is “factory food,” or in other words, “crap.” In order to sort the food from the crap, read the label.