The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council filed a decision recently cited the disease treatment and earnings claims being made by Morinda, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of NewAge Beverages, Inc. The council is a division of BBB National Programs, which also houses the National Advertising Division.
Disease, earnings claims
According to the DSSRC decision, Morinda was making the following claims for its Tahitian Noni products both on its website and in social media posts:
“Noni is a tropical fruit that provides a number of health benefits. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reports that Noni has antifungal and antitumor properties, has been suggested for potential use for prevention of atherosclerosis and a number of other health benefits.”
(Spanish language post) – “Benefits of Moni Morinda: Helps Prevent Cancer, Helps Control Diabetes, Helps control Arthritis, Helps with Depression, fatigue and low energy.”
“Would you like to prevent cancer, have better skin, reduce inflammation, boost your immune system & have more energy”
(Spanish language post) “Benefits and Preventions when consuming Tahitian Noni juice: (including but not limited to) fibromyalgia; pre-menstrual syndrome; allergies; arthritis; respiratory problems; chronic fatigue; hypertension; depression, improves skin, heart disease.”
According to the NAD ruling, the Morinda website also made non compliant earnings claims including:
“MORINDA LIFE OFFERS FINANCIAL FREEDOM.”
“Morinda’s secure, reliable, proven compensation system has allowed hundreds, THOUSANDS, of people to retire early, pursue dreams, pay off houses, send kids to college, take that dream vacation, or just give some extra breathing room every month. It’s all thanks to the true residual income only offered through Morinda. Your financial freedom-however you define it- is our goal. Whether you want a few hundred bucks a month for some extra spending money, or a few hundred thousand so you can retire early, Morinda has the plan and the system in place that will help you get there.”
In 2019, Morinda became a wholly owned subsidiary of NewAge Beverages, Inc. While the DSSRC decision called Morinda a ‘a multi-level direct selling company,’ NewAge itself prefers to call its model ‘social selling.’
Rocky financial road
In an interview with NutraIngredients-USA in March 2021 then CEO Brent Willis said NewAge had broken through to profitability it its fifth year on $279 million in annual revenue.
But Willis has since left the company, and NewAge announced recently that it was delaying the release of its year end financial statement. The company has also been notified by the NASDAQ stock exchange that it is out of compliance with listing requirements, as the stock price has fallen below $1 a share.
The company’s stock briefly traded at more than $8 a share in late 2018. It now trades for about 55 cents. NewAge has until Aug. 23 to bring the share price back up or face being dropped from the exchange.