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Is Folgers Exaggerating The Number of Cups of Coffee Each Canister Makes?

J.M. Smucker, the maker of Folgers coffee, has been the subject of several recent class action lawsuits, all claiming the same thing — the company grossly exaggerates the number of cups of coffee that each canister is capable of making. (One case is here, and another case is here.)


For this particular Folgers variety, the company claims you get up to 210 cups of coffee (6 ounce size) per canister. And the instructions on the back tell you to use one tablespoon per 6 ounce cup or 1/2 cup of grounds for 10 “cups.”

Well, those crafty class action lawyers measured out the coffee to see what you actually got in each container (see below) and one of them mathematically figured out how many tablespoons weighing about five grams each there were.


For the French Roast coffee pictured above that is supposed to make 210 cups, brewing the coffee by the cup only yielded enough for 156 cups; while making the coffee in batches of 10 cups at time still came up short by yielding only 195 cups.

We asked Smucker how they came up with their yield of 210 cups, and for comments about the lawsuits. Despite multiple requests, the company did not respond. However, in a Florida lawsuit, Folgers argued that the amount a can makes varies greatly because coffee drinkers have different preferences for a cup’s strength. As such, it concluded, their claims are accurate.

Folgers is not alone in getting sued over their yield claims. Last month, the maker of Maxwell House coffee was sued for allegedly doing the same thing.

Thanks to Truth in Advertising for the case.

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7 thoughts on “Is Folgers Exaggerating The Number of Cups of Coffee Each Canister Makes?”

  1. In a similar vein, I hate it when I buy, for example, cookies with M&Ms on them and the cookies pictured on the package have a lot of M&Ms, but the actual cookies have just a couple.

  2. Yep, coffee, cookies, juice drinks, just about anything a marketing type gets their input on. Oil change two weeks ago — synthetic. Same mileage-due as black oil. Yeah, right. We’ll tell you how many, how much, when your refrigerator/water/car filter is due change; you’re too ignorant to figure it out. I’ve long felt there is a battle (war?) between producers and consumers. Know your enemy (*very* short form from Sun Tzu), but know when you are reading his propaganda.

  3. Clorox blah plus cleaner has: 40% more in large letter near the top the spray bottle. In smaller sprint: per spray. Tries to fool consumers who think the bottle has 40% more in quantity,

  4. In another similar vein, never buy a mix of broccoli florets and stems if the manufacturer also has a SKU that is only florets. I did that once based on the picture showing 50% of each. In actuality, it was almost all stems.

  5. Not sure why the class action lawyers would even show that last column, in which at first glance it appears (deceptively) that the number of servings is 93% of the claimed amount.

    The label shows that one 6-oz serving uses 1 tablespoon of product. So 10 servings should use 10 tablespoons of product, yet 1/2 cup only contains 8 tablespoons. So in order to make the coffee the same strength with both “recipes,” you would have to use 48 oz of water. Note that the amount of water for 10 servings is not even shown on the label, so it’s not even a real recipe. If you make 10 servings using 1/2 cup of product using their suggested individual-cup strength, you end up with 4.8oz cups of coffee instead of 6 oz.

    This problem is evident in item #2 (on page 2) of the first class action complaint, where the attorneys assume that the bulk recipe serving size is 6oz, rather than assuming that strength of the coffee should remain the same when scaled up.

    Instead, they should have just stuck with the individual serving recipe. It makes their argument stronger.

    Folgers is correct that people like their coffee with different strengths, but their label expressly states the strength, so they’re wrong, wrong, wrong. Heck, I’m sure some people like really weak coffee, only one tablespoon per pint of water. That’s 416 6-oz servings per container. What a steal!

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