Discount grocery store chain Aldi sued over "naturally flavored" cereal bars

Blueberry fail in Aldi grocery store. Photograph by Kriste Melcher.

Batavia, Illinois-based grocery store chain Aldi, which is rapidly expanding across the United States and plans to have 2,400 stores in the US by the end of 2023, is currently embroiled in two lawsuits. A class action lawsuit demanding almost 10 million dollars in damages has been filed in the U.S. District Court of Central California—it alleges that the company mislabeled its Millville Fruit & Grain cereal bars as "naturally flavored," when, in fact, they contain artificial flavors, a move that violates several California codes. Supermarket News explains:

According to tests, the synthetic flavoring agent "DL malic acid" was discovered in the cereal bars. Listed in the ingredients is malic acid, which can be produced naturally, but the lawsuit alleges that DL malic acid, specifically, is being used, which would then make it an artificial ingredient.

The lawsuit says this "misrepresented and deceived consumers regarding the flavoring in the products for the purpose of enriching itself." The suit also says there is financial motivation behind labeling products as "naturally flavored," which allegedly led Aldi to make the claim.

The second case involves allegations that Aldi misrepresented the number of servings on the label of one of its oatmeal products. The box claimed to contain more servings than it actually did–thus the store was charging more than it should have.

Coincidentally, an Aldi opened this morning in my town, and I—inadvertently dressed in the Aldi color scheme—went to the ribbon cutting and won a $100 gift card, and within ten seconds of entering the store I spilled an entire container of blueberries all over the floor. I hope I'm invited back, and I hope Aldi fixes its label problems ASAP.