retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There are numerous press reports about a series of class action suits filed against ice cream manufacturers - such as Unilever, Danone and Nestlé Dreyer - and retailers - such as Wegmans - arguing that the vanilla in their vanilla ice cream is largely derived from non-vanilla sources as opposed to real vanilla.

The suits are being filed by by attorney Spencer Sheehan of Great Neck, Long Island, who says that "class action cases provide a valuable mechanism that Americans have to address certain wrongs. This is a valid and lawful means for doing so."
KC's View:
So on a whim over the weekend I ventured into the frozen food section of a local independent grocer and checked out the ingredient list for various vanilla ice cream brands - and there was no "vanilla" listed. Now, to be sure, when the ice cream was "vanilla bean" or "french vanilla," there was vanilla on the ingredient list. In one case, the presence of vanilla was in a footnote under the ingredients list.

As a consumer, I kind of think these folks ought to be sued. Or at least ought to be held to account in some way. Because what they're doing really is kind of a cheat … like the folks who sell frozen blueberry waffles that have absolutely no blueberries in them. This makes me nuts … I'm not a purist by any means, but there is just something wrong with this system.

Personally, I'm glad I eat Graeter's ice cream. It is what it says it is. (And it's delicious.)

If I were a retailer, I'd go to my ice cream section right now and check to see what the ingredients are in my vanilla ice creams … and if there's no vanilla listed, I'd consider pulling them. Because this lawyer is out there hunting for targets, he's got a legitimate complaint, and if you don't do your best to take the target off your back, you only have yourself to blame.

One note. I happened to be in a Whole Foods yesterday and noticed that there entire stock of vanilla 365 private label ice cream had been pulled. The space was empty. Y'think they got the message?