Lawsuit alleges Cheerios Protein is misleading product

General Mills faces lawsuit for ‘misleading’ consumers

According to an official complaint filed with the Northern California District Court by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI, ) "General Mills falsely and misleadingly markets Cheerios Protein to children and adults as a high protein, healthful alternative to Cheerios", and they've filed a class-action lawsuit over the matter. The suit alleges that the cereal maker has been selling a new product called Protein Cheerios, which the company first introduced the previous year, under false pretenses.

Litigation director for the CSPI, Maia Kats, stated that the only significant difference between Cheerios Protein and original Cheerios is actually in just the sugar content. One serving of the original Cheerios has 3g (grams) of protein and 1g of sugar. A serving of the original Cheerios, meanwhile, has three grams of protein and only a single gram of sugar.

But the difference in protein will not bring any improvements in any person's diet, the group says, since an adult needs between 46 and 56 grams of protein per day, while teenagers need between 46 and 52 grams of protein daily. On the other hand, the listed protein and sugar contents for Cheerios Protein correspond to 55 grams. After adjusting all the factors, the new product, Cheerios Protein, has been found to be having around a gram more protein by weight. A consumer watchdog group is suing General Mills, taking aim at Cheerios new "Protein" cereal, accusing the company of false advertising.

That little girl from the Cheerios commercial is wondering why her parents are serving her Cheerios Protein. By weight, Cheerios Protein has just over eight-instead of 17 - times as much sugar as its simpler counterpart.

The lawsuit was dismissed by General Mills as "publicity seeking", and states that their 7g per serving is, in fact, considered a good source of protein under FDA standards. Well, to make the claim that a cereal is a good source of protein, a manufacturer is required to determine the so-called "percent Daily Value for protein" of its cereal.

A month later, Cheerios and General Mills are facing a different sort of a public relations problem. At a time when big food companies are racing to meet the demands of an increasingly choosy customer base, offering new products with sexy labels, the US government is struggling to keep up. There are simply too many new labels popping up for regulation to keep pace.