Sweet Candy is Leaving Consumers Sour

A sweet settlement?

Movie theaters are notorious for selling overpriced candy, popcorn, and soda.  With a $4 box of candy from the concession counter, one would expect at least a full box of candy.  It is sometimes disappointing to find that only half of the large box is filled.  One California woman finally took a stand against this injustice; and filed a lawsuit against the Bethlehem-based Just Born candy company that manufacturers Mike & Ike’s.

In 2016, Stephanie Escobar purchased a 5-ounce box of Mike & Ike’s candy at a movie theater, and discovered that the box was only 46% occupied, leaving 54% of empty space.  She claims that this illusion of how much candy is in the box is deceitful to consumers. A US District Court Judge agrees with the claim and is allowing Escobar to file a class action lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Just Born’s packaging of Mike & Ike’s and Hot Tamales candy violates consumer rights and false advertising laws in California.  Just Born contends that the company complies with all FDA guidelines, and provides all appropriate product information on the box. Escobar argues that based on a research study, 70-80% of consumers do not mull over labels before purchasing candy or food products.  When consumers pick the larger box of candy, rather than the smaller, they tend to believe they are purchasing the most cost-effective choice.  They are not thinking about first reading the box’s product information to verify they got the best deal, especially when they have to make a decision from behind a glass case at the movie theater.

Since Escobar is only one of many Just Born boxed candy purchasers, the US District Judge approved the class action status.  Any California consumer who purchased a 5-ounce box of Mike & Ike’s or Hot Tamales after February 6, 2013 can become a claimant.  A trial is inevitable, with hearings scheduled through November this year.