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Beyond Meat Overstates Patties’ Protein Content, Suit Says (1)

June 1, 2022, 3:06 PMUpdated: June 1, 2022, 3:28 PM

Beyond Meat Inc. deceptively overstates the protein content of its plant-based patties and other meat alternative foods, consumers allege in a new proposed class action in federal court in Illinois.

Angelique Roberts and five other Illinois residents allege that Beyond Meat misleads consumers into thinking the plant-based products provide nutritional benefits equal to those found in traditional meat products.

Beyond Meat portrays its products as the “future of protein” and represents that eating the plant-based fare allows consumers to get high-quality protein in their diets while simultaneously helping the environment, the lawsuit alleges.

Proteins aren’t equal in their ability to support human nutritional needs, according to the complaint, filed Tuesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Beyond Meat explicitly represents that its products have enough high-quality protein to help build muscle, the lawsuit alleges.

But Roberts and the others say their attorneys commissioned testing of Beyond Meat products, which showed that they don’t contain the stated protein amount or the stated percentage of daily value for protein.

For example, Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground 16 oz Patties are labeled as providing 20 grams of protein per serving and 40% of the daily value for protein, the suit says. The patties actually contain 19 grams per serving and 7% of the daily value for protein when accounting for protein quality, it alleges.

Beyond Meat Products are sold in all 50 states, and are available for purchase in major grocery stores, big box stores, and other retail locations throughout the United States, according to the complaint.

Perfect Bar LLC was also recently hit with a proposed class suit alleging it overstates the protein content of its products.

Lawsuits alleging Kind LLC and Kashi Co. misrepresented the protein content of various products were dismissed earlier this year as preempted by federal food labeling law. Both suits are on appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Causes of Action: Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act; other state consumer protection statutes; Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act; breach of express warranty; breach of implied warranty; unjust enrichment.

Relief: Compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages; injunctive relief; attorneys’ fees and costs.

Potential class size: Unknown number of persons in proposed nationwide, multistate, and Illinois classes.

Response: “The allegations in the filing are unfounded and not representative of Beyond Meat’s products,” a company spokesperson said. “We are prepared to vigorously fight this case.”

Attorneys: Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman PLLC represents the plaintiffs.

The case is Roberts v. Beyond Meat, Inc., N.D. Ill., No. 1:22-cv-02861, complaint 5/31/22.

(Updated with company response in 14th paragraph)

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Steinberg in Washington at jsteinberg@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com