When you buy a bag of chips, you expect it to be half empty. But when you go the distance to indulge in a pint of ice cream, you want that container to be filled to the brim — especially if it’s diet ice cream. But two plaintiffs in a recent lawsuit, Gillian Neely and Youssif Kamal, claim that they “paid for a full pint of Halo Top but did not receive a full pint” and were so upset that they decided to sue.
The 13-page complaint, filed in a California court on June 15, accuses Halo Top’s parent company, Eden Creamery LLC, of routinely under-filling their pints, “dramatically so at times, and as a course of business.”
Since Halo Top’s marketing revolves around its low-calorie appeal, the complaint claims, different amounts of ice cream in pints with the same calorie count is misleading.
“Purchasers of the premium-priced ice cream simply have no idea how much ice cream they will get each and every time they buy a Halo Top ‘pint,’” the lawsuit accuses. “And Halo Top has been doing this for years.”
How dare they? The law may or may not be on these ice cream-lovers’ side. Lawyers told Food Navigator that it’s likely Halo Top will focus their argument on laws about “slack fill,” which may protect them under California law.
“Slack fill” refers to empty space that remains in a container for a functional reason, such as protecting a product during transport. These laws do not protect companies who fill a package “substantially less than its capacity” or companies who engage in “nonfunctional slack fill” (under-filling that doesn’t serve a purpose other than misleading consumers).
"We have never and would never 'under-fill' our pints," a spokesperson from Halo Top told The Daily Meal in an email. "Product settling can occur from time to time due to everything from heat fluctuations to altitude changes during shipping and handling."
The lawsuit points out that Halo Top emphasizes the word “pint” in its branding and uses the same size and shape of container as other popular brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs. Customers reasonably expect a full pint of ice cream to be inside.
The Daily Meal has also emailed Andrew J. Brown, the attorney representing the two who were unsatisfied with their dessert, but has yet to receive a response.
This is the second lawsuit to accost Halo Top this year. In May, a dissatisfied customer sued after he discovered the ice cream was a diet product. He claimed that the “miniscule font” used to characterize it as “light ice cream” rather than regular ice cream was “difficult to see” and therefore misleading. Perhaps he missed the gigantic display of the pint’s calorie count. If you want to be sure of your own ice cream satisfaction this summer, here’s a list of the best new ice cream flavors of the season.