The cows producing the milk behind Ben & Jerry's ice cream might not be as happy as the company has led the public to believe, according to one new class-action lawsuit. James Ehlers filed suit October 31st alleging the company is marketing its frozen treats as a sustainable product when, in fact, they are not. The complaint is focused on the Burlington, Vermont-based company's "happy cow" marketing campaigns, suggesting that the milk used in Ben & Jerry's products are sourced from dairy farms engaged in inhumane agricultural practices.
“The goodwill generated by Ben & Jerry’s prior reputation for being socially and environmentally conscious was a valuable and significant component of Unilever’s acquisition of the brand, allowing Unilever to capitalize on a growing market of conscious consumers,” Ehler's complaint reads.
The complaint — which is a class action complaint led by Ehlers — says that customers don't feel they can continue purchasing the product unless the company makes the changes to align itself better with its marketing slogan. “Plaintiff Ehlers would like to continue purchasing the Ben & Jerry’s Products in the future, but as a result of Ben & Jerry’s wrongful acts, Plaintiff Ehlers and other reasonable consumers can no longer rely on the truth and accuracy of Ben & Jerry’s Products," the complaint reads.
The group is seeking restitution for misled consumers on a judgment banning the company from using "Caring Dairy" or "happy cows" in its marketing campaigns. You can read the full complaint (via VTDigger) here.
The complaint concludes saying, “Under the circumstances, it would be against equity and good conscience to permit Defendants to retain the ill-gotten benefits that they received from Plaintiff Ehlers and the Class members, in light of the fact that the Ben & Jerry’s Products they purchased were not what Unilever purported them to be,."
Ben & Jerry's spokespeople have said they don't comment on pending lawsuits.
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