Trader Joe’s Company sells formed fruit bar products under the “Trader Joe’s” brand (the “Products”). The Products are available in no fewer than four combinations, all of which include apples and one of either banana, coconut, mango or strawberry. The front label usually lists just the fruit contained in the product. The Products’ claims are based on minimalism, whereas they are characterized and perceived by consumers as being made “only of fruit.” According to the complaint, this is intended to distinguish the Products from those fruit-based snacks which have been a staple of American school lunch boxes for decades – the fruit roll-up (a version of fruit leather).
As alleged, however, the fruit in the product is not the result of mashing whole fruit, but rather a highly processed powder. By listing ingredients with a collective name, a reasonable consumer gets the impression that the raw material used for the product existed in its whole, intact form at the direct point prior to the production of the products. This gives consumers the impression that the products are necessarily fresher and healthier, because their purported component ingredients were not made years ago, and do not contain preservatives, which may be necessary if they remained on a warehouse shelf until the time they were used in the products.