Coca-Cola Sued Over Sugar-Laden vitaminwater

vitamin wMy daily ritual of drinking a glass of orange juice was something that was passed down from my parents.  However, with Lebron James and Ellen DeGeneres pushing these vitamin and energy infused bottles of goodness, it seemed like the newest generation was shifting this morning ritual to vitaminwater.  After all, using the word “vitamin” in front of the name surely implies that there is some nutritional or healthy value. It must be good for you, right? Wrong!  These drinks hold about as much nutrition as that piece of lint in your pocket.

In retaliation for this misinformation, the non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest, is suing Coca-Cola (Coke bought vitaminwater for over $4 billion in 2007) on the grounds that vitaminwater labels and advertising are filled with “deceptive and unsubstantiated health claims.”  vitaminwater contains about 33 grams of sugar, while Two Hostess Ding Dong cake snacks have about 36 grams of sugar. Instead of taking the silent plea here, Coke attorneys are defending the lawsuit by stating that “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitamin water was a healthy beverage.” What!?

About 35 percent of Americans are now considered medically obese. In 1990, the obesity average was only 12 percent. Today, two-thirds of Americans are overweight.  When faced with the decision to buy vitaminwater or the can of Coke right next to it, people are proactively making the conscious decision. How many drinkers out there know they are consuming more calories and sugar in vitaminwater than in a 12 ounce serving of Coke (12 oz of coke equates 110 calories and 30 grams of sugar)? I would lean towards the “not many” category.

Now Coke will have to take the witness stand and defend themselves in court by acknowledging that vitaminwater is not a healthy product.  Considering, at one point, the marketing slogan was to “keep you healthy as a horse” and will supply you with a “healthy state of physical and mental well-being,” Coke will have a lot of explaining to do. Next time you purchase the newest craze of Vitamin Salad or Vitamin Coffee, be sure to think twice about how nutritious it really is.

Dale Wannen

Dale Wannen is President of Sustainvest Asset Management, an investment advisory firm focused on sustainable and responsible investing (SRI). Prior to Sustainvest, Dale was a portfolio manager at Harrington Investments and specialized in ESG investment strategies, securities analysis, and shareholder advocacy. Prior to this position, Dale was a financial advisor with UBS Wealth Management Services in San Francisco. He is often a guest speaker on the topic of ESG investing and shareholder advocacy.Dale has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He earned a B.A. in Economics from Rowan University and currently is a volunteer with Mentor Me Petaluma, Rebuilding Together Petaluma, and the founder of Green Drinks Petaluma.He also currently sits as Board of Director and Treasurer of San Francisco human rights organization, Global Exchange, teaches Economics for the Oakland non-profit Game Theory Academy and is a committee member for the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in San Francisco. Previous volunteer work has included Treasurer and Board Member for bird conservation organization, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO), committee member of the Petaluma Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC), and President of the Social Venture Finance Club at Presidio Graduate School.Dale currently holds the Series 65 FINRA license and has previously held the Series 6, 7, 63, 66 and California Life and Health Insurance Certification. He is a member of National Association of Professional Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA).Dale lives in Petaluma, CA with his wife Lauri and their Malamute Shadow.

8 responses

  1. I have been drinking this (now) sugar thinking that it was healthy. Now I know why I became boarder line diabetic. I stop drink anything that was sweet and began drinking just water for over a year. I was under the impression that this water was healthy and good for you. I am very disappointed to hear about this story. This article should make national news, so other consumers will know that this drink was false advertised. I should get all my money that I spent on this product, so I can use it to find a program that can help me with my weight loss. I did not know why I just started gaining weight. It was that “SUGAR WATER”. I drank 5 to 10 a day. Every time I saw them on sale I purchased 20 or more. I drank everyone. I did not share them with my guest.
    A very disappointed customer.

  2. You have to be an educated consumer, informed. Why would someone put something in their body w/out know what the ingredients are. This is what’s wrong w/ our country, blame a big corporation for our problems, without doing their homework. You want vitamins, eat vegetables, and fruit, get back to the basics. Drink regular water and take a multivitamin. There is no quick fix your obesity or healthy living. It is work, but soon it becomes routine. I recommend a juicer.

  3. I wouldn’t blame Coke, they are smart. It’s all about making money people and getting us humans to buy their products, so if that means slapping “Vitamen” in front of their label then so be it, it made them a ton of $$$…and at the end of the day that’s what it is all about for these big organizations, not our health and well being. We are the idiots for, once again, falling for these fads.

  4. I worked for Coke for 19 years and sold a Ton of V Water. We were told to sell it as a Healthy Drink. If the truth be known Coke does not sell anything healthy except OJ.

  5. Regardless of the marketing – every food item or beverage is required by law to have the ingredients and the nutrition table printed right on the label. How is that misinformation? Shall we go after power bars next? Maybe Starbucks should get sued too, since there are no stars or money in their beverages.

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