Turns out the truth about white chocolate isn’t what you might think.

By Tim Nelson
September 30, 2019

Chocolate snobs of the world love to remind you that white chocolate isn't chocolate. While it isn’t technically chocolate as it’s strictly defined, the fusion of cocoa butter remnants mixed with sugar and milk solids is a wonderful confection utilized by bakers the world over. In fact, some bakers care about white chocolate so much that they’ve initiated a class-action lawsuit against Nestle for selling “white chocolate” that isn’t really what it claims to be.

Recently two bakers filed a class action lawsuit against Nestle, alleging the multi-billion dollar company “sells fake white chocolate baking chips and tries to market them as white chocolate” according to the text of the suit. The plaintiffs claim that Nestle’s Toll House “Premier White” baking product “mislead[s] consumers into thinking that the Product contains premier ingredients, not fake white chocolate” made from “inferior ingredients such as hydrogenated oils.”

The suit suggests that because Nestle is synonymous with chocolate rather than oil, plus the fact that other products in the Toll House line are labeled in a way that explicitly mentions chocolate, creates a false impression about the presence of white chocolate in the product. The suit references a number of online complaints by consumers, who frequently reference the fact that the fake white chocolate doesn’t melt like real chocolate in the way they expected.

So far, Nestle’s response to the suit can essentially be paraphrased as “read the fine print, dummy.” In a statement issued to Newsweek that describes the suit as “baseless”, Nestle notes that “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.”

The company does have a point, given that “creamy, vanilla-flavored morsels” is written in tiny print on the product’s packaging, and the Premier White packaging doesn’t make any explicit references to chocolate. So you can bet that a conglomerate which generated more than $91 billion in 2018 revenue has an army of lawyers who’ve already done everything possible to ensure Nestle isn’t liable in this exact scenario.

With that said, it seems unlikely that these bakers will ultimately prevail in their quixotic quest. But the suit should at least educate some folks on what is and isn’t white chocolate— not to mention the importance of carefully reading food labels.  

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