False advertising from Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen made consumers believe that its chicken tenders are made from chicken tenderloin, claims a class action lawsuit filed in New York federal court.

Instead, the company uses other meat from the chicken breast to make chicken tenders, tricking customers into believing they purchased a “more desirable” product, the lawsuit alleges.

"(C)hicken tenderloins are... juicier, making them more desirable for consumption," stated the 18-page lawsuit filed on July 29. "They are significantly smaller than the remainder of the chicken breast, also making them more expensive than the rest of the chicken breast.

"For these reasons, the perception that the products are actual chicken tenders made from chicken tenderloins is material to consumers."

Popeyes is best known for the chicken sandwich that started the chicken sandwich wars, but the foodservice brand sells a variety of other chicken products as well, including chicken tenders and chicken nuggets.

Truth in marketing

Plaintiff Natasha Sanders, representing herself, argues that Popeyes customers paid a “premium price” for chicken tenders under the belief that it is “comprised entirely of chicken tenderloin” and that customers would have “paid significantly less” if they’d known.

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“By the use of misleading representations,” the complaint alleges, Popeyes “created increased market demand for the Products and increased its market share relative to what its demand and share would have been had it marketed the Products truthfully.”

According to the filing, chicken tender products made by other companies, such as Culvers, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Tyson, are actually made from tenderloins. 

Sanders requests a jury trial and declaratory relief along with statutory and punitive damages.

Robert Abiri of Custodio & Dubey in Los Angeles filed the case.

In 2021, rival chicken foodservice brand Chick-fil-A faced a similar class action lawsuit. It alleged that the brand violated its low-price delivery promise by adding hidden charges to the costs of food on delivery orders.