Someone finally sues Nestlé for its “white chocolate” lies

Photo: Quanthem (iStock)

Before we even get into this, yes I know that white chocolate “isn’t really chocolate.” There is always someone who needs to jump in with that fact in every white chocolate conversation, so I’m getting that out of the way right off the bat. For those of you who have yet to be “Well actually”-ed, to qualify as chocolate, something needs to contain cocoa solids (the brown stuff). White chocolate—proper white chocolate, that is—is cocoa butter, aka the stuff that gets left behind after the cocoa solids are removed. You can read more about it depth somewhere else, but right now I’m just giving everyone a quick primer so we can get into this very exciting white chocolate news. Everyone good? Great.

Nestlé, the worlds largest food conglomerate, has been hit with a class-action lawsuit claiming that its white chocolate chips are not actually white chocolate. Even though you have to say “claiming” when discussing a pending lawsuit, they’re 100% correct. Most of the white chocolate that has been sold to me over the past 15 years in both retail and specialty stores has not been white chocolate, either, but a mixture of hydrogenated oils, sugar, flavoring, stabilizers, and a bunch of other garbage that doesn’t taste anything like tasty, tasty white chocolate. Sometimes it’ll slyly be labeled “candy melts” or, in Nestlé’s case, “Premier White Morsels.”

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It’s accurate, but to an uninformed customer that for some reason believes that the world’s largest food conglomerate would never lie to them, it’s deceptive. It says as much in the lawsuit: “Nestle, a company known for its chocolate, sells fake white chocolate baking chips and tries to market them as white chocolate.” The words “creamy, vanilla-flavored morsels” are written in teeny-tiny print on the bag but, the suit argues, that by both displaying them with and putting them in the same packaging as the rest of their Morsels line of chocolate chips, they’re actively deceiving the public into believing they’re purchasing white chocolate, not a cheap imitation product with absolutely no connection whatsoever to the cocoa tree.

In a statement to Newsweek, a Nestlé spokesperson said “The label on our Toll House Premier White Morsels accurately describes the product, complies with FDA regulations, and provides consumers with all of the information necessary to help them make an informed purchasing decision.” Which, you know, is true. If you want to take your magnifying glass out in the supermarket, you’ll find a whole slew of foods that are lying to your face while whispering their true nature in teeny tiny print somewhere else on the package. I’m used to being tricked, because, truly, capitalism can’t work without diversion, deception and lies.

But when it comes to white chocolate, the deception is different, because “Well actually, white chocolate isn’t chocolate at all.” It’s deliberate obfuscation, because they’re building a lie on top of another lie. It’s a tower of lies! If you can start stacking lies with a relatively unpopular food item, what will happen with other “well actually” foods, like plant based meat? Wake up, sheeple! How deep can the lies go? How tiny can these disclaimers get? What will happen to people like me who have crap-ass vision and can’t afford Lasik? I’m pretty sure we all know how this story ends:

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About the author

Allison Robicelli

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, host of The Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast, the author of three books, and a swan meat influencer.