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Carnation Breakfast: Where’s the Promised Protein?

Earlier this month, a class action lawsuit was filed against Carnation about the allegedly misleading label on some of its Breakfast products.

The product, which comes in packets, boasts on the front of the package that it has 13 grams of protein, 21 vitamins and minerals, 3 times the vitamin D of milk, and three times the calcium of Greek yogurt.

Carnation breakfast

On the far right of the package, in tiny type, is a key disclosure:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Carnation - add milk

Most shoppers are not likely to see that, and it certainly isn’t remotely close to the protein claim. On the back, the ingredients statement has powdered nonfat milk as the primary ingredient. That might lead one to believe all you have to do is add water.

However, when checking the nutrition facts label, it becomes clear that the protein content of each packet is only 5 grams, and only magically becomes 13 grams as represented on the front of the package when consumed “as prepared” when adding milk.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Carnation nutrition label

So, what do you think? If you picked up this product and saw the 13 grams of protein claim on the front of the package, would you understand that that amount is only the result of adding milk to the product? There are no instructions on how much to add.

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11 thoughts on “Carnation Breakfast: Where’s the Promised Protein?”

  1. With that line of thinking you could put “Contains 8 grams of protein” on a package full of air and say “as prepared with milk”.

  2. It’s a bit small but the front of the package does indicate “Just add milk”. The nutritional claims can be a little confusing but I always understood that this product was for mixing with milk. I like that they also show the nutritional value of both the mix and as prepared with milk. What is missing clearly is how much milk you need to add to get those nutritional benefits.

  3. Did anyone notice the Bottom 2?
    Vit D 7mcg to 9.9mcg is a 15% raise?
    Calcium 200mg to 500mg is a 25% raise?
    All the numbers Up the list are adding to the right side, what Milk adds to the powder.
    But None of this is you Min daily Need.
    Top says this packet is 36g., 27g for carbs, 15g for Sugar, Then included Added Sugar? 9g, and Protein 5g.
    I see more Sugar at 24g, Where is other 3g carbs at?

    After all the number Just drink 2 cups of Milk insted of 1.

  4. The label is obviously deceptive, and I should know, because my IQ is above 250 (as prepared, when added to the IQ of Marilyn vos Savant).

  5. I’m with Edgar on this one. I don’t care if it says to mix it with milk, it is pretty disingenuous to include the nutrition from the milk. Especially when it compares it self to milk, for it to at least be someone valid it should say:

    “3x the Vitamin D vs. milk alone” but when it pivots itself against milk directly it is making a clear connection of “This product vs. Milk”. If this were cereal there were be more outrage. (Using made up numbers) Imagine if a brand of cereal had 0 vitamin D, and milk had 100% of your daily vitamin D. You would be upset if the cereal put “With 100% of your daily vitamin D requirements!” on the front, but in the bottom right of the box in much smaller text said, “mix product with milk.”

  6. What kind of milk? Nonfat v. whole? Animal v. plant-based? How does the type of milk impact the protein claim “as prepared”?

  7. Very clever, and super sneaky. Probably a team of lawyers and consultants, working 24/7, to figure out new ways to snooker the consumer.

  8. Nope, not misleading at all. Come on, it’s right on the front. It’s a product like instant pudding that you must add milk to to make.

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