Monday, April 18, 2011

Campbell's Soup and Salt: Mmmm-Mmmmmm Good

Just about two years ago, I carefully compared several brands of Chicken & Stars and then complained loudly that there was too much salt in them. Apparently, I am not the only one who is comparing salt content between products. And four New Jersey women have decided to do a lot more than complain about the salt; they are suing Campbell's over salt content and deceptive advertising.

My official Campbell's Mug
This is a very interesting case. Campbell's is technically correct: their claims are accurate when put into context. i.e., When you add a few more words to the claim, to clarify what is being compared, it is correct.  But what the NJ gals are saying is also correct: a reasonable consumer when faced with two Campbell's Tomato soups -- side by side -- are going to make the assumptive leap that the 25% is comparing Tomato Soup A (Regular Tomato Soup) to Tomato Soup B (25% Less Sodium Tomato Soup).

I am not a fan of lawsuits -- they are a giant money pit that usually don't accomplish anything more than give people more reason to go to law school and raise prices for everyone.  I find myself wondering if the women contacted Campbell's first. Did they write letters? Call? Ask nicely for a change? Or did they jump right to litigation with claims of Consumer Fraud? It's very interesting to me that the four women are from New Jersey, and that is where Campbell's Headquarters is located.  I'd like more background about this case, but after numerous web searches today I can not find anything more than about 20 different spins on the same basic headline. If anyone has more background, I'd love a comment or link.

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