Solowsky & Allen, P.L. Files Class Action Against Fresh Market and Tyson Fresh Meats for Deceiving Consumers Over ‘Prime’ Pork

A class action lawsuit has been brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida by ten class representatives, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, against The Fresh Market, Inc. (“Fresh Market”) and Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. (“Tyson”). The Plaintiffs have brought this consumer protection class action against Fresh Market and Tyson based on the Defendants’ alleged deceptive and misleading business practices with respect to the sale of “Prime Pork.”

Mason A. Pertnoy, Esq. Richard L. Allen, Esq., Leah Gardner, Esq., and Steven D. Solowsky, Esq. of Solowsky Allen, P.L., Miami, Florida, represent the putative class as co-counsel.

Fresh Market operates a chain of approximately 161 specialty grocery stores in 22 states in the eastern United States.  Tyson describes itself as “the industry’s leading fresh meat supplier.”  In February 2017, Tyson created its line of “Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork” (“Prime Pork”) in an effort to increase its pork sales which had been in decline.  Tyson developed a comprehensive and uniform marketing campaign for retailers to use.  This marketing campaign, the complaint alleges, has acted to mislead and confuse consumers, including the Plaintiffs, into believing that they were purchasing pork that was designated as prime like USDA prime beef.  In announcing and promoting its Prime Pork, Tyson’s Vice President Kent Harrison broadly compared Prime Pork to USDA Prime Beef, stating “People know of ‘prime.’ They get it right away.”  However, the USDA does not provide grades for pork in a similar fashion as beef, and in reality, there is no such thing as “Prime” Pork. 

The class action alleges that Tyson does not simply provide its “Prime Pork” to its retailers, but rather Tyson engages in marketing and advertising campaigns, and provides point of purchase materials which are designed to deceive and mislead consumers by trading off of the known quality and prestige of USDA Prime Beef.  In May 2019, Fresh Market partnered with Tyson to sell the Prime Pork in its stores and announced the same via a press release dated May 21, 2019.  In the Fresh Market press release, there are broad comparisons of  Prime Pork to USDA Prime Beef (“Just like prime beef”).  Despite Tyson and Fresh Market’s comparisons of Prime Pork to Prime Beef, the USDA specifically states that “Pork is not graded with USDA quality grades.”

Each Plaintiff in the class action has purchased Tyson’s Prime Pork at a Fresh Market retail store; is familiar with the term “Prime” in relation to meat and associates it with Prime Beef which has been graded as the highest quality by the USDA; viewed the marketing materials displayed throughout Fresh Market; purchased Prime Pork believing it was designated as Prime like USDA Prime Beef; and, as a result, paid a premium for the purchase.

The class action claims include Violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (and similar laws of other states), Unjust Enrichment, and Civil Conspiracy.  A jury trial has been demanded by the Plaintiffs. The case style is Fred Michael Davis, et. al. v. The Fresh Market, Inc., and Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., Case No. 19-cv-24245-PCH in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. A copy of the Complaint is available at the following link: Class Action Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial

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