Woman sues Kraft Heinz for $5M, says mac and cheese preparation isn’t as advertised

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a response from Kraft Heinz.

HIALEAH, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida woman is suing the Kraft Heinz Company for $5 million, claiming they misled the public about the time it takes to prepare its Velveeta microwavable mac and cheese cups.

Court records show that a West Palm Beach-based law firm filed the lawsuit on behalf of Amanda Ramirez in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Nov. 18.

Ramirez is listed as the main plaintiff for the class-action suit, which alleges Kraft Heinz violated federal law by saying Velveeta Shells & Cheese cups take 3½ minutes to prepare.

“Ready in 3½ minutes” is printed on the box, which is the amount of time the product takes to cook in a microwave. However, the suit says it takes more time to complete the other required steps.

This is how the lawsuit describes the cooking process:

  • “First, consumers must ‘REMOVE lid and Cheese Sauce Pouch.’
  • Next, they must ‘ADD water to fill line in cup. STIR.’
  • Third, ‘MICROWAVE, uncovered, on HIGH 3-1/2 min. DO NOT DRAIN.’
  • Finally, they should ‘STIR IN contents of cheese sauce pouch.’
  • Defendant then notes that ‘CHEESE SAUCE WILL THICKEN UPON STANDING’.”

“Consumers seeing ‘ready in 3½ minutes’ will believe it represents the total amount of time it takes to prepare the Product,” the suit states. “Meaning from the moment it is unopened to the moment it is ready for consumption.”

The lawsuit claims Ramirez bought the product for a “premium price” of $10.99 “between October and November 2022, among other times.” However, it did not say how long it actually took Ramirez to prepare the mac and cheese.

The suit described Ramirez as someone who “looks to bold statements of value when quickly selecting groceries” and is “like many consumers who seek to stretch their money as far as possible when buying groceries.”

The plaintiffs are seeking at least $5 million in damages, “including statutory and punitive exclusive of interest and costs.”

The Kraft Heinz Company responded to the lawsuit Sunday, saying, “We are aware of this frivolous lawsuit and will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint.”

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