Health-Ade Kombucha defends its products as lawsuit alleges it ‘significantly understates’ sugar content

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Health-Ade CEO: "We are confident and stand behind our product."
Health-Ade CEO: "We are confident and stand behind our product."

Related tags Sugar content Yeast Fermentation

Health-Ade Kombucha has defended its wares after being targeted in a false advertising lawsuit alleging it significantly understated the sugar content in its products.

In the complaint, filed last month in Santa Clara, plaintiff Sarah Samet alleged that “While the Nutrition​ [Facts] panels on the Health-Ade Kombuchas claim that the products contain only 2-4g of sugars per serving, they in fact contain approximately four to six times the amount on the labels.”

‘Misleading, deceptive, unfair and fraudulent …’

Consequently, added Samet - who is represented by high-profile plaintiff’s attorney Ben Pierce Gore - Health-Ade’s labels are “misleading, deceptive, unfair and fraudulent…"

She added: "Consumers rely on labels in making their purchasing decisions and are entitled to know the sugar content of beverages they purchase and consume.

“Indeed, it is not simply that some consumers would rather not consume products with high levels of sugar; for some, including diabetics, the consumption of significant amounts of sugar is dangerous to their health.”

According to the complaint, “recent testing demonstrates​” that Health-Ade kombuchas contain “approximately 11 to 13 grams of sugars per serving​”, although it doesn’t provide any details of how, when and where the testing took place, or who conducted the tests.

Health Ade Kombucha original
Los Angeles-based Health-Ade Kombucha – which makes small-batch organic kombucha flavored with cold-pressed organic juice - was founded by husband and wife team Daina and Justin Trout and their friend Vanessa Dew in 2012. Its products are sold in chains including Whole Foods, Safeway, The Fresh Market, Gelson’s Market, Bristol Farms and Sprouts.

Health-Ade CEO: We stand behind our product

However, Health-Ade co-founder and CEO Daina Trout said she stood by her company's products: "Health-Ade is laser-focused on product quality. We are confident and stand behind our product."

She added: "We do regular testing both for sugar and alcohol and are confident in our compliance with our label. 

Attorney Ben Pierce Gore is well known in food litigation circles, having sued several companies over their use of the term ‘evaporated cane juice’ among other things in recent years.

"We are aware of all the recent press kombucha has cultivated in the last couple months ​[click HERE ​for more details]. We have been working closely with the AOAC ​[Association of Organic Analytical Chemists], KBI​ [Kombucha Brewers International], and scientists across the country around these issues.

“The industry is expanding, and there are a lot of good companies out there experiencing growth!

“We're a small entrepreneurial start-up, still led by me, my husband and my best friend, and we're doing our best out there amidst it all.

"We're learning every day and still have a long way to go! One thing is for sure: we're proud of what we started.”

What is kombucha?

One of the fastest-growing segments in the functional beverages category, kombucha is tea fermented with live bacteria and yeast that creates carbon dioxide, alcohol and acetic acid and has a fizzy, slightly vinegary taste

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