A California woman has filed a lawsuit against the company that sells Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales candies, claiming it "falsely and deceptively" misrepresents the amount of candy served in each box.
Stephanie Escobar sued Just Born Quality Confections, the company that sells the candies common to movie theaters in the U.S., after she says she bought a box of Mike and Ike and found that it was only 54% filled with candy. The rest of the space was "slack-fill," or 46% air, according to court documents.
Escobar said she bought the candy at a movie theater in Los Angeles based on information provided by the packaging, including the size of the box, and would never have made the $4 purchase if she had known nearly half of it was filled with air. She conducted her own investigation of boxes of both Mike and Ike and Hot Tamale, and claims to have found that each one had 46% of slack-fill.
Escobar had a reaction of "surprise and disappointment" when she opened the box of Mike and Ike candy at the movies, her attorney Ryan Clarkson said.
She sued Just Born for violating California's false advertising law, unfair competition law and the consumers legal remedies act.
According to Clarkson, Escobar is seeking a change in the way the company sells and markets its candy products as well as a monetary refund on "behalf of all other purchasers of this particular product." Clarkson said the company selling half-empty boxes impacts customers on a scale larger than Escobar alone.
"From the perspective of our client alone, there's not a lot at issue, but from the perspective of the defendant manufacturer, and the fact that they can save roughly 50% of food supply cost in every box they sell, it results in a windfall to the manufacturer," he said.
Matt Pye, vice president of the Bethlehem, Pa. based Just Born, said the company intends to "vigorously defend" itself against the "baseless allegations."
"Our products and labels comply with all FDA regulations and provide consumers with the information they need to make informed purchase decisions," he said in a statement.