Purina Sues Blue Buffalo for Misleading Advertising | Dogs Naturally Magazine
Pet food giant Purina has announced (splashed all over their website petfoodhonesty.com) that they’ve filed a lawsuit against The Blue Buffalo Company Ltd for false advertising. This lawsuit follows on the heels of a decision by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in March of this year, in which NAD found Blue Buffalo’s advertisements for their BLUE brand products to be misleading and disparaging against competitors’ products. NAD’s investigation took place after a complaint by Hill’s.
Purina now alleges that although Blue Buffalo’s advertising claims their products contain no chicken or poultry by-product meals, testing by an independent lab (hired by Purina) showed that Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection products do in fact contain poultry by product meal in considerable amounts – over 20% in some cases.
Purina also asserts that several of Blue Buffalo’s other products contain corn, other grains and preservatives when Blue Buffalo advertises otherwise as part of its “True Blue Promise”.
Purina’s suit alleges “false advertising, commercial disparagement and unjust enrichment”. The complaint filed in the state of Missouri (where Purina says Blue Buffalo is building a new factory in Joplin) goes into considerable detail about Blue Buffalo’s advertising claims, especially the fact that the Blue Buffalo advertising specifically compares their ingredients as well as processing and nutritional standards favorably against those of other well known brands.
Apparently Blue Buffalo’s advertising (which according to Purina cost over $50 million in 2013) must have been quite successful because Purina’s complaint contends that Purina has suffered “irreparable harm to its reputation” was well as economic harms including losses in sales, while Blue Buffalo “unjustly profits as a result of its false advertising and false comparative advertising tactics.”
Purina is demanding a jury trial and has asked the court to take several actions. These include requiring Blue Buffalo to discontinue their current line of advertising and engage in “corrective advertising”; they’re also asking that Blue Buffalo to pay Purina “treble actual damages, costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees” as well as Blue Buffalo’s profits and cost savings resulting from its “false advertising practices”.
Right back at them!
On the other side, Blue Buffalo appears unintimidated and has responded to the lawsuit with a strongly worded press release of their own. Blue Buffalo categorically denies the allegations and states that “unlike Nestle Purina” they do not use chicken by-product meal, ground corn or artificial preservatives in their products. They accuse Purina of engaging in voodoo science to support their outrageous allegations.
Blue Buffalo says they’re disappointed in a $100 billion dollar company like Purina filing a “baseless lawsuit” against a family run business. Blue Buffalo’s stance is “when we’re right, we fight” and they look forward to seeing Purina in court.
This could get interesting….and in the process we may learn a lot more about both companies’ ingredients and manufacturing practices!