Starbucks faces lawsuit over fruit-flavored soft drinks

NEW YORK – Starbucks was ordered by a federal judge on Monday to address a lawsuit alleging that several of its Refresher fruit drinks were missing a key ingredient: fruit.

U.S. District Judge John Cronan in Manhattan rejected Starbucks’ request to dismiss nine of the 11 claims in the proposed class action, saying “a significant portion of reasonable consumers” would expect their drinks to contain fruit named in their name be mentioned.

Consumers complained that Starbucks Mango Dragonfruit, Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade, Pineapple Passionfruit, Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade, Strawberry Açai and Strawberry Açai Lemonade Refreshers did not contain any of the advertised mangoes, passion fruit or açais.

Plaintiffs Joan Kominis of Astoria, New York, and Jason McAllister of Fairfield, California, said the main ingredients were water, grape juice concentrate and sugar and that Starbucks’ misleading names led to inflated prices. They said this violated their states’ consumer protection laws.

Starbucks is facing a lawsuit after allegations that its refresher drinks actually contain no fruit.
Starbucks is facing a lawsuit after allegations that its refresher drinks actually contain no fruit.
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Starbucks, a Seattle-based company, filed a motion to dismiss, saying that its product names described the flavors of the drinks, not their ingredients, and that those exact flavors were advertised on the menus.

It also says no reasonable consumer would have been confused and that the baristas could “sufficiently dispel” any confusion if consumers had questions.

However, the judge said that unlike the term “vanilla,” which has been the subject of many lawsuits, “there is nothing before the court to suggest that ‘mango,’ ‘passion fruit’ and ‘açaí’ are terms normally used to describe a flavor “can be understood without representing it.” this ingredient.”

Cronan also said confusion might be understandable because other Starbucks products contain ingredients in their names – for example, Ice Matcha Tea Latte contains matcha and Honey Citrus Mint Tea contains honey and mint.

The judge dismissed a fraud claim because Starbucks had no evidence of intent to defraud consumers and a claim of unjust enrichment.

In a statement, Starbucks called the allegations in the lawsuit “inaccurate and baseless” and said it looks forward to defending itself.

The lawsuit began in August 2022 and sought at least $5 million in damages. Robert Abiri, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said he was pleased with the decision and looked forward to representing the proposed class.

The case is Kominis et al v. Starbucks Corp, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-06673.


DUSTIN JONES is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DUSTIN JONES joined USTimeToday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with DUSTIN JONES by emailing

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