Updated every Monday!   Subscribe to free weekly newsletter.

Hey, Tostitos, Where’s the Guacamole?

Just in time for the Super Bowl, Frito-Lay has introduced a new chip, Tostitos Hint of Guacamole.

Tostito

Ever curious reader HMC wrote to us after checking the ingredients statement having discovered there wasn’t even a hint of real guacamole listed:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Corn, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Canola, and/or Sunflower Oil), Maltodextrin (Made from Corn), Salt, Natural Flavors, Whey, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Cream, Spices, Sour Cream (Cultured Cream, Skim Milk), Tomato Powder, Jalapeño Pepper, Maltodextrin (Made from Tapioca), Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Butter (Cream, Salt), Artificial Color (Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake), Swiss Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), and Artificial Flavors.

In the bottom left hand corner of the bag, nowhere near the Hint of Guacamole product name, there is a small disclosure.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Tostitos artificial

Unfortunately for shoppers, this disclosure is so low down on the bag (in line with the net weight statement), that it likely gets folded under the product as it sits on store shelves.

We asked Frito-Lay twice if the guacamole flavor in the product is real or artificial and if the green specs on the chips are guac flavor or merely decoration. The company didn’t respond… and that probably says a lot.

Share this story:

 


ADV
Updated every Monday!   Subscribe to free weekly newsletter.

Subway Sued Over Alleged Tuna-less Tuna Sandwiches; It Fights Back With New Ads

Two California consumers sued Subway in January for selling tuna sandwiches and wraps that allegedly had no tuna in them.

Subway tuna

*MOUSE PRINT:

According to the complaint

Defendants consistently advertise the Products as “tuna.” However, Defendants’ labeling and marketing scheme for the Products is blatantly false. As independent testing has repeatedly affirmed, the Products are made from anything but tuna. On the contrary, the Products are made from a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by Defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna. Defendants identified, labeled and advertised the Products as “tuna” to consumers, when in fact they were not tuna.

The lawsuit provided no other specifics as to the actual content of the sandwiches, but repeatedly asserts that “the Products entirely lack any trace of tuna as a component…”

A check of the ingredients statement on the Subway website, however, lists the ingredients of their tuna salad as having tuna as its primary ingredient.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Subway ingredients

To try to figure out what was really going on here, we asked one of the consumers’ two law firms for a copy of the full complaint twice, but they would not provide it. Then we asked the other law firm representing the consumers for more specifics including what the tests they conducted revealed, and whether the complaint is based on a technical violation of the federal definition of what constitutes tuna fish. They responded saying they were not answering media questions at this stage of the case.

However, we did get a response from Subway with their comments.

“Our restaurants receive pure tuna, mix it with mayonnaise and serve [it] on a freshly made sandwich to our guests.” –Subway spokesperson

Digging around a little more, we found a video shot last summer by a Subway employee who was mixing up a batch of tuna for their sandwiches which shows the actual source of the tuna.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Subway tuna package

The package is clearly labeled as “tuna” and the only other ingredients in that package are water and salt. And as noted by the Subway spokesperson, and confirmed by the video, mayonnaise is the only other thing added.

As it comes out of the package, the tuna somewhat resembles “pink slime” — the pink mash from beef bone scrapings that McDonald’s was accused of using in hamburgers years ago. The tuna version of this is called “tuna scrape” — back meat scraped off tuna bones. We asked Subway twice if they use “tuna scrape” but they did not respond.

However, over this past weekend, the company did start a national advertising campaign addressing the tuna issue head-on:

Subway 100%

Clearly, there is something fishy going on… but we just don’t know what. Stay tuned.

We invite you to offer your opinion in the comments section below about this case. Is Subway actually trying to pull a fast one on customers as the law firms allege, or could the lawyers be mistaken? And what is the actual proof underlying the claims that the lawyers won’t reveal?

Share this story:

 


ADV
Updated every Monday!   Subscribe to free weekly newsletter.

Does Your Cash Back Card Pay You Back Like This?

In 2019, Capital One ran a TV commercial with a woman claiming she redeemeded $115,000 in cash back rewards in just one year with her Spark business credit card.

*MOUSE PRINT:

The unreadable fine print says:

The actual amount of cash back will depend on your credit limit, payment history and purchase activity.

Well, this person must have one heck of a credit limit to have earned $115,000 with her two-percent cash back card. In fact, she would have had to have put $5,750,000 on the card that year to earn that kind of rebate.

Fast forward to 2021. Capital One is running a new commercial with another business owner claiming he redeemed $21,000 in cash back last year.

This time the fine print has changed, is more readable, and remains on the screen longer.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Rewards depicted represent higher than average rewards for customers with this card and were accumulated over multiple years. The actual amount of cash back will depend on your credit limit, payment history and purchase activity.

Nonetheless, his very words, “last year, I redeemed $21,000 in cash back… seriously, $21,000” imply that that is what he earned that year when in fact he did not.

We asked Capital One why they continue to advertise what we believe to be misleading cash back claims.

A spokesperson for Capital One replied:

“[Both] commercials speak to redemption stories rather than rewards earned in any particular period, [and] the Happy Howie’s disclosure does further clarify that the rewards themselves were earned over multiple years…”

This implies that the woman in the flowers commercial also earned her $115K over many years.

In not so many words, the spokesperson also referenced a case brought against the bank by Chase on these very issues. In the 2020 decision of the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau, the bank was told the fine print on the first commercial was unlikely to be noticed or understood. It also found that the examples shown could not be achieved by over 90% of their cardholders, and that the ad did not state the typical results an average cardholder could expect.

You can judge whether the disclosure the bank made in the second commercial above (which was created after the NAD decision) complied with the recommendations made.

Share this story:

 


ADV