Carmel-based owner of Splenda sues Dunkin’ Donuts

Splenda-owner Heartland Consumer Products of Carmel is suing Dunkin' Donuts for representing a Chinese-product as Splenda. (WISH Photo)
Splenda-owner Heartland Consumer Products of Carmel is suing Dunkin' Donuts for representing a Chinese-product as Splenda. (WISH Photo)

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A Carmel-based company is suing Dunkin’ Donuts. It has to do with the sweeteners Dunkin’ Donuts offers in its restaurants and products.

The lawsuit does not specify a dollar amount Heartland Consumer Products wants from Dunkin’ Donuts, but it does say that Splenda, a Heartland-owned product, will rake in net sales of $163 million this year.

About a year ago, Heartland Consumer Products purchased Splenda from McNeil Nutritionals.

Dunkin’ Donuts previously offered Splenda to its customers, but in April of this year, the doughnut shop cut ties with Splenda and instead started offering a Chinese-made, off-brand sucralose, according to the lawsuit. The Chinese product is offered in yellow packets, just like Splenda, and is marked with only the Dunkin’ Donuts brand.

In court documents, Heartland says it sent investigators to more than 70 Dunkin’ Donuts stores around the country asking for Splenda sweetener. Often those people were directed toward the yellow Dunkin’ Donuts packets of the Chinese product, and restaurant staff also indicated that Splenda was used in its products behind the counter.

Heartland said in the lawsuit the company has also received numerous complaints from customers who had visited Dunkin’ Donuts.

Heartland says Dunkin Donuts’ actions are damaging Splenda’s reputation and they want compensation for corrective advertising and other damages.

Dunkin’ Donuts has not filed a legal response to the case yet.

“We are unable to comment due to pending litigation,” Dunkin’ Donuts’ spokesperson Justin Drake said.