On Tuesday, January 13, 2013, a false advertising class action lawsuit was filed in New York against the producers of Red Bull energy drinks. Careathers et al v. Red Bull GMBH, (S.D.N.Y 2013) No. 13-CIV-369.
The complaint alleges:
- “The Red Bull Defendants prey upon consumers by promising that, among other things, “Red Bull gives you wings,” by providing a mixture of ingredients that, when ingested, significantly improve a consumer’s physiological and mental performance beyond what a simple cup of coffee or caffeine pill would do for a consumer’s physiological and mental performance.”
- “…there is no genuine scientific research and there are no scientifically reliable studies in existence that support the extraordinary claims of Defendants, that Red Bull branded energy drinks provide more benefit to a consumer than a cup of coffee. The Red Bull Defendants know or should know that there is no greater benefit to ingesting Red Bull energy drinks than ingesting an equivalent does of caffeine and have taken no meaningful steps to clear up consumer misconceptions regarding its Red Bull branded energy drinks.”
- “Defendants are able to charge and get a substantial premium for their products over readily available and much lower priced sources of caffeine that provide the same or substantially similar results.”
- “Even a 12 ounce serving of Starbucks coffee costs $1.85 and would contain far more caffeine than a regular serving of Red Bull.”
Product claims from the Red Bull website:
- Increases performance
- Increases concentration and reaction time
- Improves vigilance
- Stimulates metabolism
- Makes you feel more energetic and thus improves your overall well-being
Product claims from the Red Bull can:
- Improves performance, especially during times of increased stress or strain
- Increases endurance
- Increases concentration and improves reaction speed
- Stimulates the metabolism
- With Taurine
- Vitalizes body and mind
The Red Bull website claims:
“It is a functional product developed for times of increased mental and physical exertion. It increases performance, increases concentration and reaction speed, improves alertness and stimulates metabolism.
Caffeine is known for its stimulating effects on mental and physical functions such as endurance, performance, reaction speed, alertness and concentration.
Taurine is an amino acid, naturally occurring in the human body. It’s consumed in the daily diet and performs several physiological functions. It acts as a detoxifying agent and has various neurological functions.
Glucuronolactone occurs naturally in the human body and is also consumed in the daily diet. It is a derivative of sugar, which is present in various foodstuffs such as grain.
B-group vitamins are important for metabolic and neurological functions. They have a positive impact on mental and physical performance.
SUCROSE & GLUCOSE
Sucrose and Glucose are different types of sugars that provide energy to body and mind.
ALPINE SPRING WATER
Naturally, water is a key ingredient of Red Bull.
The water in Red Bull is fresh alpine water of the highest quality, which comes from springs near the production sites in Austria and Switzerland. This region, the Alps, is known as one of the world’s most definitive water reservoirs, where water as a resource is available in abundance and constantly replenished. Hence, to ensure the same premium quality around the world, Red Bull’s key production sites are located in the Austrian and Swiss Alps.”