Getting Ahead Of The Game

Part of our responsibility for this new client was to review their labels for legal compliance. On their most important product, we found the words "All Natural," although the product contained an artificial color and was fortified with synthetic vitamins. We told the client they were facing a class action, but they told us they needed to convey a "natural" message or their sales would be crushed.

We studied the matter and determined that 90% of the product was a blend of wheat, barley and sesame -- -- all undeniably natural ingredients. Also, the predominance and importance of these whole grain ingredients was obvious to the consumer from the packaging, from looking at the product, and upon eating the first mouthful. We told the client that the label should be changed from "All Natural," to "Made with All Natural wheat, barley and sesame grains." We warned the client that this wasn't a bullet-proof solution. There was a chance some plaintiff's class action attorney might try to claim that the label was misleading because it didn't mention any of the added non-natural colors or synthetic vitamins. However, the statement, "Made with All Natural wheat, barley and sesame grains" was objectively correct and we could put up a very strong defense if we had to.

The client decided to put, "Made with All Natural wheat, barley and sesame grains," on his packaging. Sales continue to be strong -- -- the customers don't seem to have noticed any difference. The client has been following this strategy for the last four years with no class actions being threatened or filed.

The client is very happy.


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