News April 2019

TGI Fridays sued over their potato skins products

What makes a potato skin a potato skin?

New York resident Solange Troncoso filed a putative class action against TGI Friday’s, Inc., alleging that the restaurant chain has duped consumers by marketing a line of “Potato Skins” snacks that are not actually made from potato skins.

Last June, Troncoso purchased a bag of TGI Friday’s Sour Cream & Onion Potato Skins at a convenience store in the Bronx for $1.99, according to her federal court complaint, before she learned that the snack actually contains potato flakes and potato starch, not potato skins.

In the industrial production of potato flakes, potatoes are peeled, she told the court, but the skins are further processed or reintegrated into the production process. As for potato starch, the peeled skins are similarly removed and not used in the remainder of the production process.

Consumers are aware of the nutritional benefits of consuming potato skins (which have a high content of vitamin B-6, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, iron, potassium, magnesium and fiber) and are willing to pay more for a nutritious product, Troncoso claimed. The purported “presence of potato skins imparts a further value in the eyes of reasonable consumers.”

Despite the advertising, TGI Friday’s snacks without any actual potato skins are an “inferior product,” she said. “This labeling deceives consumers into believing that they are receiving a healthier snack, but Defendant’s products do not live up to these claims,” according to the complaint.

On behalf of a nationwide class of consumers, the complaint seeks monetary damages as well as an injunction to halt the allegedly false advertising.

To read the complaint in Troncoso v. TGI Friday’s, Inc., click here.

Why it matters: The New York federal court may be forced to answer the question of what makes a potato skin a potato skin in the new false advertising class action.

This report was written by Po Yi, Advertising, Marketing and Media at manatt. Article published here