SAN FRANCISCO — Hostess Brands, Inc. on Dec. 1 filed a motion with the US District Court Northern District of California requesting the court dismiss a complaint against the Kansas City-based company related to labeling on carrot cake mini donuts sold under the Donettes brand.
Elena Lauchung-Nacarino, the plaintiff in the case, has alleged that Hostess led her to believe its carrot cake mini donuts sold under the Donettes brand contain “a substantial amount of real carrot,” not simply artificial carrot flavoring. As a result, Ms. Lauchung-Nacarino said the labeling of the Donettes is misleading and has accused Hostess of violating the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), Unfair Competition Law (UCL), and False Advertising Law (FAL), as well as committing common-law fraud. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages as well as equitable relief.
In its Dec. 1 motion to dismiss, though, Hostess pointed out several inconsistencies in Ms. Lauchung-Nacarino’s case.
“She does not allege that the labels made any such claim or even showed an image of a real carrot, and in fact she concedes that the ingredient list shows there is no real carrot in the product,” Hostess noted in its filing. “Her allegation that she bought the product because she ‘prefers desserts that contain real fruits or vegetables’ is also undermined by her concession that she first bought the Donettes in 2019, when the front of the labels read ‘Naturally and Artificially Flavored Carrot Cake mini donuts.’
“In short, a simple review of the objective information on the front packaging, along with the ingredient list, would have provided plaintiff with all the information she needed to dispel any belief that the Donettes contained ‘a substantial amount of real carrot’ and no artificial flavoring.”
Hostess added that Ms. Lauchung-Nacarino’s case lacks standing because she “has not plausibly alleged she suffered any injury in reliance on the alleged misrepresentations or omissions.” In addition, her complaint is based on labels that only appeared on the Donettes for a short time in 2020, when the “Naturally and Artificially Flavored” disclaimer was not present, and doesn’t take into account that she first bought the Donettes in 2019 when the disclaimer was present, Hostess said.
A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2021.