Velveeta Facing a $5M Lawsuit Over Misleading Marketing

The packaging claims on this instant mac and cheese have landed Velveeta in hot water.

A cup of Velveeta Instant Shells & Cheese with the word "Lawsuit" overtop of it.
Photo: Adobe Stock/Allrecipes

Take a look on the back of a cup of microwavable Velveeta Shells & Cheese and you'll find that the mac and cheese can be made in four steps: remove the lid and cheese sauce pouch; add water to fill line and stir; microwave, uncovered, on high for 3 1/2 minutes; stir in cheese sauce. According to the packaging, the tasty dish is "Ready in 3 1/2 minutes."

Or is it?

Earlier this month, a woman in Florida joined the ranks of people suing pasta companies and filed a 15-page class-action lawsuit against The Kraft Heinz Company citing that the company "misrepresented the Product through statements, omissions, ambiguities, half-truths and/or actions, that it would take 3-and-a-half minutes total to prepare and be ready for consumption."

With record-high grocery prices, we're all trying to save money each trip to the store. Our time is valuable, too, which is what Amanda Ramirez, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, contends.

The court filing indicates that Ramirez is "…like many consumers who seek to stretch their money as far as possible when buying groceries," and "looks to bold statements of value when quickly selecting groceries."

Ramirez's legal team told NPR that she chose Velveeta Shells & Cheese over other similar products because of the prep time prominently promised on its label. The court filing reads that she "believed and expected that the Product would take 3-and-a-half minutes total to prepare and be ready for consumption." They added that she would not have bought the product if "had she known the truth."

Though Ramirez is the sole plaintiff, the class-action lawsuit is filed on behalf of more than 100 consumers in Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia who purchased the product during the statute of limitations. The plaintiff is seeking $5 million in damages.

"Anyone that purchased the product during the statute of limitations for the states listed in the complaint will be a member if the class is certified," Will Wright, one of Ramirez's lawyers, told Allrecipes in an email. "It's not a class action until a judge certifies it as such."

When asked for a response to the lawsuit brought against them, The Kraft Heinz Company replied in an email to Allrecipes, "We are aware of this frivolous lawsuit and will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint."

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