Consumers Group Takes Aim at VitaminWater

Dietary supplement marketers need to be on the look-out not only for the FDA and the FTC, but for consumer protection organizations as well. Most recently, the National Consumers League sent a letter to the FTC urging the agency to take action against VitaminWater.

The NCL calls VitaminWater advertising and labelling claims “deceptive” and “dangerously misleading” and is urging the FTC to stop the manufacturer’s continued use of them.

The complaint cites VitaminWater promotions that say “flu shots are so last year,” implying, the NCL believes, that VitaminWater is being promoted as product that can replace flu shots or prevent illness.

In a television ad, a woman is shown at home watching TV instead of at work because VitaminWater helped her become healthier so that she can use unused sick days to play hooky instead of being ill.

The NCL complaint also wants the FTC to stop label statements for VitaminWater that describe the product as a “nutrient enhanced water beverage” and that claim “vitamins + water = all you need.”

According to NCL, the statements are deceptive because VitaminWater is more than just vitamins and water, but also are made with crystalline fructose or other forms of sugar, and contain 125 calories per bottle.

The FTC has not yet responded to NCL’s complaint.

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