Starbucks soft drinks aren’t as fruity as their names suggest, alleges a New York City woman in a proposed class action lawsuit that asks, “Where’s the acai?”
“Despite their names, and unknown to consumers, Refreshers Mango Dragonfruit and Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade do not contain mango, Refreshers Pineapple Passionfruit and Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade do not contain passion fruit, and Refreshers Strawberry Acai and Refreshers Strawberry Acai Lemonade do not contain mango. acai,” said Joan Kominis. she said in the lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Manhattan.
Kominis, a Queens resident, does not say in her lawsuit how she determined the ingredients were missing. She claims that soft drinks are predominantly made with water, grape juice concentrate and sugar.
A Starbucks spokesman said the Seattle-based company had not received the lawsuit and had no comment.
Kominis said she stumbled upon the alleged hoax when she bought the strawberry acai drink, only to discover that it contained no acai (ah-sah-EE), depriving her of the fruit’s well-known health benefits. The company’s website says the drink is “accented” with “notes” of acai.
According to the lawsuit, the product names make an “implied promise” about their ingredients, and Starbucks violated a New York law that prohibits deceptive practices and false advertising. Kominis accused Starbucks of unjust enrichment and said he charged for drinks as if they had the advertised ingredients.
A medium or large Dragonfruit Mango Soda costs $5.25 at a store in midtown Manhattan.
“Plaintiff and other consumers purchased the products and paid a premium price based on their reliance on Defendant’s naming of the products,” Kominis said. “Had Plaintiff and other consumers known that the products are missing one of the named fruits, they would not have purchased the products or paid much less for them.”
Robert Abiri, the Los Angeles-based attorney who filed the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Kominis’ lawsuit does not specify potential damages, but says the “amount in dispute” is more than $5 million.
Other chains have faced claims that the ingredients in their products are not what is advertised.
Subway Restaurants has been fighting a lawsuit from California consumers who claim their tuna sandwich is adulterated with other species of fish, animal products and other mysterious substances. Subway denies the claim, stating on its website that it only uses wild-caught Skipjack tuna in its sandwiches.
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