Currently, the hottest trends in diet and health seem to be the alkaline diet and alkaline, or ionized, water. Health conscious consumers that do not have time to put together an alkaline diet can easily grab a bottle of ionized water and reap some of the same the benefits.
Alkaline diets and related products are sold on the idea that consuming the right foods will balance acid levels, which leads to a variety of health benefits, including the prevention of heart disease and cancer.
The alkaline products are considered luxury items, because some in-home ionizers cost $3,000 or more. Meanwhile, there has been plenty of shade cast on the claims of health benefits made by producers and manufactures of the products.
For example, Dana Weiss is an unhappy California consumer. She is not a proponent of alkaline water, particularly Trader Joe’s “Alkaline Water + Electrolytes.” She filed a class action lawsuit in the Central District of California in June 2018. She claims that there are false representations on the label of the bottled water, including the phrases, “ionized to achieve the perfect balance” and “hundreds of plus symbols on the packaging next to [the] statement ‘refresh and hydrate’ connoting non-existent health benefits.”
Weiss argues that the claim of “balance,” is not supported by any scientific evidence suggesting that alkaline water provides any substantial health benefits over any other bottled water.
According to Weiss’ claim, Trader Joe is also misrepresenting the pH level of the water. Additionally, Weiss states that debunking the health benefits of Trader Joe’s water and preventing them from being able to make these claims will reduce market demand and thus, the price of the water.
“Weiss charges Trader Joe’s with breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, violation of various state consumer protection acts, and violation of the California Unfair Competition Law and California’s false advertising law.”
The lawsuit, brought forth by Weiss, shows how claims about health benefits, such as those of alkalinity, continue to remain on the radar of regulators and ripe for class-action lawsuits. Weiss believes that the label contains words that are “not just puffery, but … instead deceptive and … therefore actionable,” it is possible that the court could determine that Trader Joe’s claims are conservative and potentially noncontroversial. It claims that the water “refreshes and hydrates,” which is not out of character for the marketing of a bottled water.
By Jeanette Smith
Lexology: Trader Joe’s Alkaline Water Gets the Class Action Hose
Image Courtesy of Mike Mozart's Flickr Page - Creative Commons License