The appeal of microwave meals is their efficiency, but are they really made as quickly as companies claim? According to one Florida woman, the answer is no.
The signature yellow packaging for the Velveeta Shells & Cheese Microwavable Shell Pasta claims the dish is “ready in 3½ minutes.” On Nov. 18, Florida resident Amanda Ramirez filed a US$5-million class action lawsuit against Kraft Heinz, which owns Velveeta, alleging it takes much longer to fully prepare the microwaveable pasta.
Ramirez and her lawyers claim the advertising printed on the single-serve meal is “false and misleading”; they contend, even though it takes three-and-a-half minutes to microwave the pasta, this time does not account for the other steps listed in Kraft’s preparation instructions.
The prospective pasta-eater must also add water before microwaving, then add cheese sauce and stir to combine.
The lawsuit takes particular offence to the fifth step listed on the Velveeta package, which claims the “cheese sauce will thicken upon standing.” This time to thicken is apparently also not included in the three-and-a-half minutes.
“The label does not state the Product takes ‘3½ minutes to cook in the microwave,’ which would have been true,” the court documents allege.
Kraft Heinz responded publicly to the lawsuit in a brief statement.
“We are aware of this frivolous lawsuit and will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint,” the company wrote.
The lawsuit seeks to represent more than 100 individuals.
It alleges Velveeta’s three-and-a-half-minute promise (and brand recognition) has allowed Kraft Heinz to charge a premium for a product that is being falsely advertised. In the lawsuit, the lawyers claim Ramirez “would not have purchased (the product) or paid less had she known the truth.”
Along with the $5 million in damages, the lawsuit also asks for Kraft Heinz to “cease its deceptive advertising” and “be made to engage in a corrective advertising campaign.”
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