Sparkling water brand LaCroix has issued an open letter defending its production process, ingredient integrity and packaging safety in the wake of a series of lawsuits, claiming “We never have, and never will, make false statements about our products.”
The response comes as LaCroix, a subsidiary of Florida-based National Beverage Corp. (NBC), faces a class action lawsuit in Illinois claiming that the use of “all natural” and “100% natural” on its products is intentionally misleading to consumers because of the presence of synthetic chemical ingredients. Earlier this month, Albert Dewjeski, a former NBC Vice President, filed a separate suit against the company, claiming he was wrongfully terminated after raising concerns to senior management that NBC had prematurely declared its cans as “BPA-free” before the chemical had been removed.
NBC, a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ exchange, has disputed both claims. In October 2018, the company issued a press release stating its ingredients had been certified as derived from natural sources by an independent laboratory.
In a June 24 letter posted to LaCroix’s social media channels and addressed to “Our LaCroix family,” the brand said it was “proud of contribution to the movement away from sugar-sweetened beverages and “unwanted or unhealthy beverage ingredients.” The brand said it was making the statement “Because LaCroix’s relationship with our fans is something special to us.”
“We recognize that a brand that presents itself as pure, innocent, and healthy has an obligation to its consumers,” the letter stated. “We want you to know that we have been faithful to that obligation.”
Addressing the complaints directly, the letter states that “LaCroix is made only with flavor ingredients that have been certified as natural” and are non-GMO. It also states that LaCroix was “among the first brands to obtain cans without BPA-based liners” and that all products are currently using those cans.
The company owns the production facilities and maintains direct control over “the process, ingredients and water quality in every can,” and that all aspects of production are analyzed to ensure the highest level of quality. The letter also said product labels will now state that “each product is Whole30, non-GMO and produced with a BPA line” to comply with new federal regulations on nutrition panels.
“We listened and learn from LaCroix fans and we take seriously the expectations that you express to us,” the letter states. “We love the fun, meaningful, and engaging relationships we have with all of our fans. We especially love hearing directly from you. This engagement is so special to what creates a vibrant part of #LiveLaCroix.”
NBC saw its first decrease in quarterly sales in five years in March, leading chairman and CEO Nick Caporella to issue an apology to investors. According to the Wall Street Journal, NBC’s share price has fallen by more than half over the past 12 months.