Tula Foods, Producer of Better Whey of Life® Greek Yogurt, Sues Kroger and Weber Flavors in Suit Alleging Fraud

Tula Foods, Producer of Better Whey of Life® Greek Yogurt, Sues Kroger and Weber Flavors in Suit Alleging FraudTula Foods, Inc., an Illinois-based natural food company, has filed a lawsuit in Ohio against grocery chain The Kroger Co. and flavor supplier Edgar A. Weber & Company, doing business as Weber Flavors. The suit concerns the production of Tula’s Better Whey of Life® premium Greek yogurt line, which was introduced in 2012 and was sold in over 400 stores throughout the Midwest, Mountain West, and California.

Tula sues Kroger for breaching the parties’ manufacturing contract by failing to produce the yogurt according to the contract’s specifications. In addition to its retail stores, Kroger owns and operates 37 manufacturing plants where it manufactures products for other companies under the name Inter-American Products. One of these products was Tula’s Better Whey of Life® yogurt.

According to the complaint, Kroger knew it was failing to meet Tula’s production specifications, but released poor-quality, unappetizing yogurt into the market anyway. Kroger then attempted to cover up its actions by hiding the manufacturing data necessary to discover Kroger’s wrongdoing. The lawsuit further states that Kroger misappropriated Tula’s trade secrets to use in making its own competing store brand of Greek yogurt at the same manufacturing facility.

Tula also sues Weber, an Illinois-based flavor supply company, for failing to properly treat and process the vanilla bean base it supplied for Tula’s yogurt. According to the complaint, despite the fact that Weber guaranteed its vanilla bean base would be free of contaminants and foreign materials, Tula found numerous instances of mold growing in the finished yogurt and consequently had to recall the product from store shelves.

According to the complaint, “[t]he actions of Kroger and Weber would have significantly harmed any yogurt producer, but they were particularly devastating for Tula because retailers and consumers were just getting to know and love the Better Whey of Life® brand.”

The case is Tula Foods, Inc. v. The Kroger Co. and Edgar A. Weber & Company d/b/a Weber Flavors, filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Hamilton County, Ohio.

Tula is represented by Alan Littmann, Shayna Cook, and Jennifer Greenblatt of Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum LLP, and Kendall Shaw of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP.

About Tula Foods

Based in Evanston, Illinois, Tula Foods was founded in 2008 by former Kraft Foods employees. At Tula, the motto is “When You Know Better, You Eat Better.”

Dedicated to smart eating and healthy living, Tula Foods was the 2009 recipient of the Illinois Department of Commerce “Most Innovative New Company Award” and the 2010 “Nielsen/Walgreens Women Owned Business Development Award.” In 2012, the company’s innovative product was featured in such publications as the Chicago Tribune and Albuquerque Journal along with several TV news segments.# # #