Names and labels are critical in consumer goods. Consumers demand transparency and authenticity – we want to know that companies are telling the truth and fulfilling their brand promises. One brand currently under fire is Nestlé’s Waters’ Poland Spring Bottled Water.
A class action lawsuit for $5 million has been filed against Poland Spring for false advertising, deceptive labeling, breach of conflict, and other claims. The lawsuit argues that the company has misled consumers by labeling the product as “100% spring water,” thus suggesting that the water is high quality. It claims that “not one drop” of the water complies with the FDA’s definition of what constitutes spring water, and is instead considered “ground water.”
The FDA says spring water “shall be collected only at the spring or through a bore hole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring.” Consumers claim that the Poland Spring in Poland Spring, Maine went dry decades ago. Nestle said the “claims made in the lawsuit are without merit” and that they meet the FDA regulations, as well as all federal and state regulations.
What’s in your water?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Bring a few bottles of Poland Spring Water to class.
- Pass them around to students and see what conclusions the students have about the product.
- Next, have students look up the FDA definition of spring water. (https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm046894.htm)
- Does it comply with how the product is packaged and advertised?
- Show video: http://fortune.com/2017/08/17/nestle-poland-spring-water-lawsuit/
- Have students review the company’s Web site for information: https://www.polandspring.com/
- What course of action should the company take to reassure consumers and regain trust?