Greg Horn, former CEO of GNC and Garden of Life, said he feels the POM-FTC battle will be a "bellwether case" for the functional food and beverage category.

"It is especially significant to note that the FTC does not seem to be going after the relatively mild claims made in POM's television ads, but statements made by its owners on television shows and other venues outside traditional advertising," Horn added. In its complaint, the FTC cited an appearance by Lynda Resnick on Martha Stewart's TV program during which she said men should drink eight ounces of her product every day to ward off prostate cancer.

"The FTC case will certainly help to define the limits of claims for products that have some science, but may not be proven to the level of pharmaceuticals," Horn said. "If POM should win their case—and they certainly seem willing to take it all the way—it will cause a re-evaluation of the scope of powers vested in the FTC."