In order to settle a series of US class action lawsuits, Canada Dry ginger ale has agreed to refund US customers and remove a controversial claim from its American packaging, the National Post reports.
The soda company promotes its ginger ale is “Made from Real Ginger” on the front of its cans, but the spice is notably absent from the drinks’ long list of ingredients.
This is the reason that one of the company’s customers filed a lawsuit, claiming that they had misled her by promoting false advertising.
Dr. Pepper, the owners of Canada Dry, were sued last year by New York-based mom Julie Fletcher. She said she bought the soda for her kids when they experienced stomach-aches, because she believed it contained ginger roots. When she found out that wasn’t the case, she decided to act.
Part of Fletcher’s confusion was also sparked by a 2011 Canada Dry commercial, where a farmer reaches for a ginger root that ends up being connected to a bottle of the carbonated beverage.
The New York lawsuit cited, “common law fraud, deceit and/or misrepresentation, breach of express and implied warranties and unjust enrichment.”
Ginger is a known elixir for common illnesses like nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness, and pain. Its been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes, and the lawsuit alleged the company falsely promoted its actual ginger content as part of a marketing scheme to make Canada Dry seem like a healthy alternative to regular pop.
The “Made from Real Ginger” claim boosted company sales by almost nine per cent in the first six months that it debuted on ginger ale cans and bottles, according to New York court records.
Fletcher’s lawyer found Canada Dry contained such small amounts of ginger flavour extract that it could not possibly have any health benefits. In fact, the ginger compound content was far too low for humans to even taste, according to the Post.
As part of the American settlement, the company has agreed to offer payments to any US consumer who bought Canada Dry since 2013. The reimbursement is limited to $5.20 per household without proof of purchase and $40 per household with proof of purchase.
In Canada however, the brand’s ginger ale will continue to be marketed as “Made from Real Ginger.” While Keurig Dr. Pepper said it is currently evaluating the Canadian packaging, a company spokesperson told that Post that there are “no changes to announce at this time.”
Since the lawsuit took place in the US, Canadians aren’t eligible for the reimbursement. However, it might not be long before Canadians will see a similar payout from the company.
On January 14th a lawsuit was filed in Quebec that echoes the violations outlined in the American lawsuit, according to a report by Narcity. The prosecution in Quebec is seeking compensation for those affected totalling up to $15 million.