Jacobs v. Whole Foods Market Group, Inc., No. 1:2022cv00002 – Document 27 (N.D. Ill. 2022)
Plaintiff sues, based on the disparity between the box size of rice pilaf and the amount of product. The empty space is known as “slack fill.”
Defendant notes that the box clearly identifies the weight and number of servings.
Plaintiff cites Benson v. Fannie May Confections Brands, Inc., 944 F.3d 639 (7th Cir. 2019) for the proposition that the presence of an accurate net weight statement does not eliminate the misbranding that occurs when a container is made, formed, or filled so as to be misleading.”
However, the court notes:
Benson involved boxed, ready-to-eat chocolates. As the court explained, a consumer might reasonably expect to be able to estimate the approximate number of chocolates in a particular box based on the box size . . . But any reasonable consumer surely knows that rice pilaf sold in a box must be cooked in water or another liquid prior to consumption, and understands further that the cooking process will cause the rice to expand in volume. In other words, a reasonable consumer expects the size of the box to bear only a loose relationship to the amount of cooked product its contents will yield. Accordingly, a shopper uncertain about how many boxes of rice pilaf to buy for the family dinner would know not to rely on the size of the box and would look for additional information of precisely the kind plaintiff admits defendant’s rice pilaf box contains: the number of servings each box will produce based on a specified serving size. Because that information dispels any tendency to mislead that the box size alone might create, there is no deception as a matter of law.
Text of Jacobs v Whole Foods: nd ill rice pilaf