Woman sues microwave mac and cheese makers over deceptive labelling

Poppy Bilderbeck

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Woman sues microwave mac and cheese makers over deceptive labelling

Featured Image Credit: U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida

The third-largest food and drinks company in America is being sued by a woman for its 'misleading' mac and cheese product.

Look, we get it. Being hangry is hard. And having to faff around with something before you put it in the microwave sends you that little bit further into a pit of frustration. However, whether or not we'd bother finding the time to file a lawsuit against a food company for apparently getting in the way of our hanger is another question.

On Friday, 18 November, Amanda Ramirez from Hialeah, Florida, found that time and filed a federal class action lawsuit in US District Court in Miami against Kraft Heinz Foods Company.

The plaintiff has accused the business of deceiving customers with its Velveeta's microwavable Shells and Cheese cups.

A woman has filed a lawsuit over Velveeta Shells and Cheese. Credit: Richard Levine/ Alamy Stock Photo
A woman has filed a lawsuit over Velveeta Shells and Cheese. Credit: Richard Levine/ Alamy Stock Photo

While having previously been a fan of the mac and cheese product - having bought the item 'between October and November 2022, among other times' as per Sun Sentinel - upon further inspection of the mac and cheese, Ramirez became unhappy.

The plaintiff saw the mac and cheese was stated as being, 'Ready in three-and-a-half minutes' but, after putting it to the test, she's since argued the timing is inaccurate.

Within the lawsuit Ramirez contests the mac and cheese takes just three-and-a-half minutes to make, as the other steps leading up to and following it being microwaved aren't accounted for within that time.

The instructions say to microwave the item for three-and-a-half minutes. Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy Stock Photo
The instructions say to microwave the item for three-and-a-half minutes. Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy Stock Photo

The instructions on the mac and cheese state: "REMOVE lid and Cheese Sauce Pouch. ADD water to fill line in cup. Stir. MICROWAVE, uncovered, on HIGH 3½ min.

"DO NOT DRAIN. STIR IN In contents of cheese sauce pouch. Cheese Sauce Will Thicken Upon Standing."

The lawsuit reads: "Consumers seeing ‘ready in 3½ minutes’ will believe it represents the total amount of time it takes to prepare the Product, meaning from the moment it is unopened to the moment it is ready for consumption."

Ramirez states she wouldn't have bought the product if she knew it would take longer than three-and-a-half minutes to make, however the plaintiff didn't disclose how long the product eventually did take her to get ready.

Ramirez has filed a lawsuit against Kraft Heinz Foods Company over the mac and cheese product. Credit: Tofino/ Alamy Stock Photo
Ramirez has filed a lawsuit against Kraft Heinz Foods Company over the mac and cheese product. Credit: Tofino/ Alamy Stock Photo

Ramirez reflected on the price of the item and whether or not it was worth it.

She claims other products are less 'misleading' and have a lower price point as well.

The plaintiff stated she would have either 'not have purchased' the product at all or 'paid less had she known the truth' and overall believes she ended up paying 'more for the [box of eight 2.39-ounce cups] than she would have paid' if she'd known it took longer than three-and-a-half minutes in total to prepare.

"[Ramirez] is like many consumers who seek to stretch their money as far as possible when buying groceries. [She] looks to bold statements of value when quickly selecting groceries," the lawsuit reads.

Ramirez has accused Kraft Heinz Foods Company of violating state and federal laws. Credit: Keith Homan/ Alamy Stock Photo
Ramirez has accused Kraft Heinz Foods Company of violating state and federal laws. Credit: Keith Homan/ Alamy Stock Photo

Ramirez has accused Kraft Heinz Foods Company of violating state and federal laws against false and misleading advertising, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, deceptive and unfair trade practices, unjust enrichment and breach of express warranty.

Seeking statutory and punitive damages as well as interest and other 'costs,' the lawsuit is demanding over $5 million (£4 million) in damages from Kraft Heinz Foods Company.

Despite this, Ramirez has said she would purchase the mac and cheese product again.

However, the lawsuit details she would only do so 'with the assurance its representations are consistent with its abilities, attributes and/ or composition'.

A spokesperson from Kraft Heinz Foods Company told UNILAD: "We are aware of this frivolous lawsuit and will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint."

Topics: News, Food and Drink, US News, Money

Poppy Bilderbeck
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