PepsiCo Drink Brand Removes Term “Natural” from Marketing

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WholeFoods Magazine Staff
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Monrovia, CA—Naked Juice Co., owned by PepsiCo, will be removing the term “all natural” from its fruit and vegetable juice smoothie products, after it chose to settle a class-action lawsuit for $9 million. By claiming its products are all natural and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the lawsuit alleged, the brand was engaged in false advertising.

The plaintiffs in the case alleged that many of the products in the Naked Juice line contain Fibersol-2 (a proprietary soluble corn fiber ingredient made by Archer Daniels Midland), fructooligosaccharides and inulin. The plaintiffs argued these ingredients, or the way they are produced, do not allow the products to qualify as “natural,” a largely unregulated term. They also claimed some products contain genetically modified soy.

The settlement deal resulted in PepsiCo. continuing to deny that its product labels were false or misleading. But, the company has agreed to redesign its labels until the term “natural” becomes better defined and regulated. It will not, however, remove the term “non-GMO” from its labels, and will instead hire an independent testing agency in an effort to confirm the accuracy of the “non-GMO” assertion. The company will also seek to create a database to electronically track and verify the ingredients used in the Naked Juice line.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2013