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Kroger’s “Simple Truth” Branding Not So Simple, or Truthful

Kroger is the largest supermarket operator in the US. After Kroger determined its consumers wanted the ability to choose more organic and humane foods, they introduced their “Simple Truth” premium-priced store brand of chicken. Kroger touts its “Simple Truth” chickens as “cage free” and raised in “a humane environment.” But Kroger is now facing a lawsuit alleging that the “Simple Truth” about these chickens is anything but.

The complaint, filed in Superior Court of California in Los Angeles County, is seeking class-action status against Kroger for allegedly misleading California consumers. The chickens, according to the Complaint, are raised under standard commercial farming. Standard industry practice for broiler chickens is to house them inside large buildings, not cages, according to industry experts. Moreover, the “Simple Truth” chicken products are produced by Perdue Farms, which has followed industry practices such as electrically stunning birds prior to slaughter, according to the lawsuit. Kroger, not surprisingly, is defending the label and its treatment of these chickens. The case is Anna Ortega v. The Kroger Co, Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, No. BC536034.

The case highlights growing consumer concern over food and how it’s produced, labeled, and marketed. Consumer concern over food production practices and vocal complaints against growers and retailers has led to numerous product changes in recent months by major food companies. Subway, for example, plans to eliminate azodicarbonamide from its dough. Azodicarbonamide is a manufactured chemical used in food and plastics to increase surface volume. The chemical, when added to dough (or yoga mats), makes them fluffier.   Kraft Foods Group, Inc. has said it will remove the preservative sorbic acid from some individually wrapped cheese slices. Chick-Fil-A also announced that, within five years, it would stop selling poultry products from chicken raised with antibiotics.

What we eat and what we feed our family is important. But understanding the marketing and labeling of your groceries is not easy.   If you are interested in figuring out how to understand the labeling on the food you buy, go to:

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