Following less than a day of deliberation, a jury found Coca-Cola not guilty of misleading its customers with its labeling of Minute Maid “Enhanced Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored 100% Juice Blend,” denying Pom Wonderful the $77.5 million it sought in lost business.
The juice blend from Minute Maid, a division of Coca-Cola, is the subject of a years-long lawsuit brought by Pom Wonderful, in which the plaintiff alleges that the labeling of a “flavored blend of 5 juices” is misleading to customers who think that such a blend would contain more than .5 percent of the two juices listed, pomegranate and blueberry.
The product in question contains .3 percent pomegranate juice and .2 percent blueberry juice, along with a 99 percent blend of apple, grape, and raspberry juice.
A lawyer for Coca-Cola, Steven Zalesin, also contended that Pom had lost its right to question the healthfulness of Coke products given its own misleading marketing strategies and use of filler juices. Pom’s own Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea, for instance, contains only .0005 percent passionfruit juice.
“It’s typical for these flavored products not to list the amount of juice, but just to say this word ‘flavor,’” Zalesin said. “It’s a pomegranate-blueberry flavored blend of five juices, and that’s what it says.”
Pom has previously brought similar lawsuits against competitors like Ocean Spray and Welch’s, but was unable to prove that these products were misleading to consumers.