Lawsuit: What Is The Meaning Of "Made From Sugar?"

Equal, once the nation’s leading brand of artificial sweetener, is suing competitor and current leader Splenda for misleading customers with its tag line “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.” From the New York Times:

“The phrase ‘made from sugar’ may seem simple enough, but it has spawned an epic battle among the parties over proper diction and syntax,” the judge overseeing the case, Gene E. K. Pratter, wrote in an opinion last month.

“For example, McNeil claims that ‘made from sugar’ clearly excludes the interpretation that Splenda is sugar, or that Splenda is made with sugar,” she continued. “Made with sugar would mean that sugar is an ingredient listed on the package. Drawing upon an often effective rhetorical device, McNeil asks the question, how could a consumer interpret a product that is ‘made from sugar’ and ‘tastes like sugar’ as actually being sugar?”

Equal is seeking to force McNeil Splenda’s manufacturer to revamp their advertising and “disgorge” at least $176 million in Splenda’s profits. Is this fair? We don’t know. All we know is that both of them taste like !#&%. —MEGHANN MARCO

Makers of Artificial Sweeteners Go to Court [NYT]