A South Florida woman is suing Kraft Heinz, claiming the food maker defrauded her and other consumers by saying that its Velveta Shells and Cheese product is only 3 1/2 years old before it’s ready to eat. It takes minutes.
The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Miami, concerns Kraft’s microwavable single serve cup macaroni and cheese.
The packaging claims the dish is “ready in 3½ minutes.” But lead plaintiff Amanda Ramirez called the statement “false and misleading” and argued that the total preparation time is longer.
The package directions indicate that there are four steps to preparing the product. These include removing the lid of the cup and opening the cheese sauce pouch, adding water to the cup and stirring it, microwaving the cup and finally mixing the contents of the cheese pouch.
Ramirez points out that the 3 ½ minutes advertised on the product only accounts for one of the multiple steps. “Consumers seeing ‘ready in 3 ½ minutes’ would believe that this represents the total amount of time it takes to prepare a product, meaning it stops from the moment it is ready for consumption is,” the complaint reads.
The claim would be correct if it indicated that it took 3 ½ minutes to cook the savory pasta balls in the microwave, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit, filed this month by William Wright of Wright Law Offices in West Palm Beach and Spencer Sheehan of Sheehan & Associates in Great Neck, New York, seeks more than $5 million in damages.
Ramirez is one of many consumers who “quickly look at bold statements of value when choosing groceries” in order to “stretch their money as much as possible when shopping for groceries,” reads the complaint.
The Shell & Cheese Cups sell for about $10.99 for eight 2.39-ounce cups, which is more than consumers would pay if they were advertised correctly, the lawsuit claims.
Kraft Heinz dismissed the lawsuit as without merit.
“We are aware of this frivolous lawsuit and will vigorously defend the allegations made in the complaint,” Kraft Heinz said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.