Major Coca-Cola and Pepsi Competitor Faces Trouble Over Misleading Claims

Whether you’ve recently hosted a party, shopped for groceries, or grabbed a drink at a gas station, you’ve likely noticed the overwhelming variety of beverages available. The choices can be dizzying, even for the most discerning consumer.

With the declining popularity of sugary sodas like Coke, beverage companies have been striving for years to recapture soda drinkers in innovative ways. Sometimes this means offering limited edition flavors, creating entirely new drinks, or introducing healthier alternatives that consumers won’t feel guilty about enjoying. This guilt largely stems from the growing public awareness of the negative effects of sugar; health classes across the U.S. now emphasize how easy and harmful it is to consume 40 grams of sugar in just one can of soda. Even commercials sponsored by major food and beverage corporations now promote replacing sugary sodas with unsweetened or alternatively sweetened drinks produced by the same companies.

We’ve seen Coca-Cola venture into alternative beverages like Topo Chico, and we’ve witnessed the rise of health-oriented drinks such as Poppi, Olipop, and kombucha. Healthier drinks—or at least drinks marketed as healthier—are currently very popular.

However, one beverage company has recently encountered legal troubles. A class-action lawsuit alleges that the company’s health claims are misleading. According to documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Poppi, which markets itself as a prebiotic drink, is essentially “sugared water” with dubious health benefits.

The lawsuit centers on Poppi’s claims of offering beneficial prebiotic fibers through inulin, which “may function as a prebiotic,” but doesn’t necessarily do so and “can lead to adverse health results.” Poppi also includes a small amount of apple cider vinegar in each drink for added gut health benefits.

The lead plaintiff, Kristin Cobbs, asserts that Poppi may have to pay up to $5 million in damages. Poppi, which contains an average of 5 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber per can, is widely available at top food and grocery chains across the U.S., including Target, 7-Eleven, Costco, Kroger, Publix, Whole Foods, and Amazon.

Poppi’s popularity soared after it was featured on “Shark Tank,” securing a deal with guest Shark Rohan Oza. Initially sold to holistic consumers at farmer’s markets and local shops, Poppi has now become a favorite among celebrities like Kylie Jenner and is one of the best-selling drinks on Amazon. Its soda-like flavors, such as Doc Pop (reminiscent of Dr Pepper), Cola (similar to Coke), and Root Beer, have helped it achieve significant sales. According to the lawsuit, “Poppi has quickly climbed the ranks as one of the most popular beverages in the United States.” As of 2024, Poppi’s sales have exceeded $100 million, capturing 19% of the U.S. market share, surpassing Coke by 1.5 times.

Related Articles

Back to top button