An Ashland man who claims Canada Dry Ginger Ale gets its taste from stuff other than ginger is suing its maker on behalf of himself and other consumers who thought they were getting health benefits from guzzling the stuff.
In a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Boston, Samuel Fisher says Dr Pepper Snapple Group should be ashamed of itself for a decade-long campaign playing up its alleged "real ginger" makeup as a supposed healthful alternative to your more common sugar-laden soft drinks - and pay him and other consumers and his lawyer more than $5 million in recompense.
Canada Dry is not made from real ginger as reasonable consumers understand that phrase, i.e. it is not made using ginger root. Instead, Canada Dry Ginger Ale is made from carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, preservatives, and “natural flavors,” i.e., a flavor compound comprised predominately of flavor extracts not derived from ginger, and a miniscule amount of a ginger flavor extract. But Canada Dry’s ginger flavor extract is not “real ginger” as reasonable consumers understand that term. It is manufactured in a lab using various chemicals and extraction processes. And, although the flavor extract contains some ginger compounds, the miniscule amount that DPSG uses to make Canada Dry results in less than two parts per million of any ginger compounds in the final beverage. This microscopic amount of ginger flavor extract provides none of the health benefits consumers associate with real ginger and even appears to fall below the threshold concentration required to impart any flavor to the beverage.
It is possible to make ginger ales using real ginger root. The traditional method is to brew ginger root in water. Indeed, many smaller craft beverage companies make it that way, as do some of DPSG’s mainstream competitors such as Reed’s. Reed’s, for example, has 17 grams of fresh ginger per 12-ournce bottle. Beverages made this way contain hundreds of more times the amount of ginger compounds than the miniscule amounts in Canada Dry.
Fisher describes how he personally was harmed by Canada Dry Ginger Ale:
Plaintiff Fisher has purchased Canada Dry on numerous occasions within Massachusetts over the past four years. He would typically purchase a 20oz bottle of Canada Dry at a gas station or convenience store. He made each of his purchases after reading and relying on the truthfulness of DPSG’s product label that promised the Products were “Made from Real Ginger.” Mr. Fisher believed this meant that Canada Dry was made using ginger root and was, as a result, a healthier alternative to regular sodas. Mr. Fisher further recalls seeing DPSG’s Jack’s Ginger Farm commercials ... which reinforced his belief that Canada Dry was made using ginger root because the commercials depicted people on a ginger farm pulling up the stalks of ginger plants to reveal a bottle of Canada Dry where the ginger root would be.
At the time of each purchase of Canada Dry, Mr. Fisher did not know that the Products that he purchased were not made from real ginger, but were instead made from a miniscule amount of a ginger flavor extract, which does not contain any of the health benefits of real ginger. As a result of DPSG’s misrepresentations and omissions, the Products have no, or, at, a minimum, a much lower, value to Mr. Fisher. As a result of DPSG’s misrepresentations and omissions, Mr. Fisher was injured by paying more money for Canada Dry that he would have paid. Indeed, had DPSG not mispresented the true nature of Canada Dry, Mr. Fisher would not have purchased Canada Dry or would have paid a lower price for it.
The soft-drink maker has yet to file a reply to the complaint.