Alexia Foods makes a variety of gourmet-style frozen side dishes. Named after a famous Manhattan chef, the company taps into the popular trend among many consumers seeking a healthier alternative without all the preservatives. Alexia takes the concept to next level, offering top-quality frozen foods that the company claims are “All Natural.”
Though the words “All Natural” are proudly proclaimed on every package of Alexia brand foods, the foods may not be as natural as they appear.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency responsible for enforcing labeling, issued a warning to Alexia in Nov. 2011 about its all-natural claims. Under the FDA’s policies concerning the use of the word “natural,” such statements can be used only when nothing artificial or synthetic is included in the products. Despite the company’s claims, many of Alexia’s products contain synthetic chemicals, thus negating the products’ purported “All Natural” status.
Yet, despite the FDA’s warning, the food company knowingly continued to mislead consumers. Alexia did not change its packaging or advertising to increase transparency.
Baron & Budd challenged Alexia’s “All Natural” labeling, claiming that, despite the company’s representations, many of Alexia’s products actually contain synthetic chemicals, and therefore they violate a number of consumer protection laws. The resulting settlement required ConAgra to pay $3.2 million and to stop using the phrase “All Natural” on their packaging.
Baron & Budd served as lead counsel in the case, and firm attorneys Roland Tellis and Mark Pifko led the prosecution throughout the case.
In re Alexia Foods Inc. Litigation, Case No. 4:11-cv-06119-PJH (N.D. Cal., filed Dec. 5, 2011)
Alexia products included in the lawsuit:
- Sauté Reds
- Mashed Potatoes Yukon Gold Potatoes & Sea Salt
- Mashed Potatoes Red Potatoes with Garlic & Parmesan
- Waffle Fries Harvest Sauté
- Italian Sauté
- Sauté Sweets
- Potato Bites