Greenwash Alert: Fortune Brands’ Skinny Girl Cocktails Pulled off the Shelves of Whole Foods

Skinny Girl cocktails,Β the fastest growing spirit brand in America and the brain child ofΒ Bethenny Frankel of the Real Housewives of New York City, has been pulled off the shelves of Whole Foods after they learned that ‘the natural ingredients are not so natural.’

One has to applaud Whole Foods for taking action against a drink that seems to have committed two sins of greenwash: ‘The Sin of No Proof’ and ‘The Sin of Irrelevance.’ Kim Conte at Cafe Mom had the best analysis:

… there’s no ingredient list on the bottle. Bethany herself has marketed the product as containing “natural flavors, lightly sweetened with agave nectar and made with premium Blue Agave clear tequlia,” but that’s the extent of what we know about its ingredients. Apparently, this wasn’t enough for Whole Foods. The chain allegedly removed the product from its shelves because they discovered that the “natural flavors” weren’t so “natural” (as if that term has any meaning anyway).

A little digging by, a fan site that follows all things RH, reports that allegedly it was the ‘caramel color’ that did in Skinny Girl. Hmmm…

And while it was laudable that Whole Foods removed the product from its shelves, the whole incident has been kept extremely quiet. The Skinny Girl website makes no mention of the Whole Foods removal nor does the Whole Foods site. And, the cocktails are still are available in hundreds of outlets across America. While Bethenny Frankel may not know about the FTC Green Guide rules on green marketing, brand owners Beam Global Spirits & Wine a unit of Fortune Brands Inc., the makers of Jim Beam, Canadian Club and Courvoisier, should know better.

Written by Jennifer Kaplan

Jennifer Kaplan writes about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for Insteading (and before the two sites merged) and is the author of Greening Your Small Business. She is an Instructor at the Culinary Institute of America-Greystone and was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster, an MFA and an MBA – follow her on Twitter.


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