False Advertising or Frivolous Lawsuit? Velveeta Mac and Cheese Cups Under Fire


May 23 2023, Published 5:19 p.m. ET

Velveeta Shells and Cheese on a store shelf
Source: Getty Images

Some days, cooking is too much of a hassle. But when microwaveable macaroni and cheese came on the scene, it seemed to promise a hot meal in just a few minutes. Now, one woman is suing Kraft Heinz Foods Company. The Kraft Velveeta mac and cheese lawsuit claims the company underestimates how long its product takes to make.

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According to CNN Business, Florida-based Amanda Ramirez filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Kraft Heinz Foods Company in 2022. Her claim is that the microwaveable version of Velveeta Shells & Cheese can't be prepared in the 3.5 minutes the company says. How much money could this lawsuit be worth if she wins?

Velveeta Shells and Cheese and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese on a store shelf
Source: Getty Images
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Why did someone sue over microwaveable mac and cheese?

The $5 million lawsuit makes the claim that the Kraft Heinz Foods Company falsely advertises its microwaveable mac and cheese meals. The single-serve cups of mac and cheese bear the packaging label that it's "ready in 3.5 minutes" and that's what the woman behind the lawsuit says is incorrect.

The key to the lawsuit is that the microwaving portion of preparing these handy meals-on-the-go does take three and a half minutes, as the packaging says. However, Ramirez's attorneys claim that this ignores four other steps necessary to make this meal, which adds to the preparation time. Customers have to remove the sauce pouch and lid, add water, microwave it, and stir before eating.

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Ramirez and her lawyers claim that this is false advertising and that Kraft Heinz is unfairly profiting from it. They allege that more people buy the microwaveable mac and cheese because they believe the claims about how fast it's ready. Not only that, they claim that customers pay a premium for the convenience of food that's ready in 3.5 minutes.

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Here's what the Kraft Heinz Foods Company said about this lawsuit.

According to CNN Business, Kraft Heinz Food Company does not believe the mac and cheese lawsuit has any merit. “We are aware of this frivolous lawsuit and will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint.”

How much money could the plaintiff win?

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Miami and seeks $5 million in damages on behalf of Ramirez and any other allegedly affected customers. William Wright, one of the attorneys who filed the suit, told The Washington Post: “I’ve gotten a lot of flak about this case, but deceptive advertising is deceptive advertising.”

He said that Kraft charges extra for the chance to save time, but the product doesn't save as much time as promised.

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smiling woman cooking in a red pot with two wine glasses next to her
Source: Becca Tapert/Unsplash

Did Velveeta customers pay more for convenience to avoid time-consuming meal prep?

The Kraft lawsuit accuses the company of "fraud, false and misleading advertising, breach of express warranty, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment," said The Washington Post. Wright said that he understands some believe this case is about "just a little fibbing" but that “We want corporate America to be straightforward and truthful in advertising their products."

In addition to the $5 million in damages sought, Ramirez seeks punitive damages, per CNN. It also indicates that Kraft must stop its allegedly false advertising and perform some sort of correction in its advertising campaigns regarding the product. The case has not been settled at this point.

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