The No. 1 brand in Italy? Barilla’s product packaging is misleading to pasta shoppers, class action claims

A proposed class action lawsuit alleges that Barilla customers were misled by product packaging into believing the company’s pasta is made in Italy.

The 53-page lawsuit from California alleges that Barilla America, Inc. deliberately misled consumers by perpetuating the misrepresentation that its pasta is made in Italy, including touting the products as “the #1 pasta brand in Italy” and including the country. red, white and green flag colors on the box.

Be sure to scroll down to see which Barilla pasta products are mentioned in the lawsuit and what buyers should do next.

In truth, according to the complaint, Barilla products are made in New York and Iowa, and some ingredients, including durum wheat, the main ingredient in the pasta, are sourced from countries other than Italy. According to the suit, it is in Barilla’s interest, financially speaking, to position its pasta as made in Italy while manufacturing the products in the United States.

“By labeling the products in a false, misleading, and misleading manner, defendant sought to take advantage of consumers’ desire for authentic Italian pasta, while reducing costs and reaping the financial benefits of manufacturing the products in the United States. of America,” accuses the case. “Defendant did so to the detriment of unwitting consumers, as well as defendant’s lawfully acting competitors, over whom defendant retains an unfair competitive advantage.”

Lawsuit seeks to recover money consumers overpaid for allegedly mislabeled Barilla pasta and asks court to force company to “shut down [its] illicit marketing” of the products.

Consumers can’t tell the difference, adapt to constraints

A key argument in the lawsuit is that the average consumer cannot determine for themselves where food products are made or where their ingredients come from. All this to say that most people lack the personal knowledge to refute a claim made on an item’s label and rely on the manufacturers to be truthful.

According to the lawsuit, consumer demand for authentic Italian pasta is “exponentially high,” to the point that an item advertised as “made in Italy” is “evolved into a brand that distinguishes Italian products” from others.

“Consumers are looking for products that look or sound like they come from Italy because Italian products have a better reputation and as such consumers are willing to pay more for Italian sounding and/or looking products. “, relays the suit, adding that manufacturers often “exploit the alleged Italian origin of a product” to stimulate sales and increase the perceived value of an item.

The case goes on to state that despite the global popularity of Italian pasta, the country’s durum wheat production simply cannot keep up with demand. In response, companies such as Barilla, according to the lawsuit, “scrambled” to manufacture, market and sell allegedly authentic Italian pasta using durum wheat made outside of Italy “in an effort to gain market share.” market and increase sales”.

What Barilla pasta is mentioned in the lawsuit?

The case involves the packaging used in each of Barilla’s five product lines: Classic Blue Box, Collezione Artisanal, Gluten Free, Vegetarian and Whole Wheat. Specific varieties of Barilla pasta mentioned in the lawsuit include:

1) Barrel Classic pasta in blue boxincluding angel hair, campanelle, cellentani, ditalini, elbows, farfalle, fettuccine, fideo cut spaghetti, gemelli, jumbo shells, large shells, linguine, finished linguine, manicotti, medium shells, mezzi rigatoni, mini farfalle, mini penne, mini wheels, mostaccioli, orzo, pastina, penne, pipette, rigatoni, rotini, spaghetti, spaghetti rigati, thick spaghetti, thin spaghetti, tricolor penne, tricolor rotini, wavy lasagna and ziti

2) Barrel Collezione Artisanal Pastaincluding bucatini, casarecce, orecchiette, penne, rigatoni and spaghetti

3) Barilla Gluten Free Pastaincluding elbows, fettuccine, penne, rotini and spaghetti

4) Barrel Vegetarian Pastaincluding rotini and spaghetti

5) Barilla Whole Grain Pastaincluding elbows, lasagna, linguine, penne, rotini, spaghetti and fine spaghetti

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According to the complaint, all Barilla pasta sold in the United States, with the exception of tortellini and Barilla oven-ready lasagna, is made at Barilla’s Ames, Iowa or Avon, New York plant.

Who does the lawsuit seem to cover?

The case appears to represent all U.S. residents who, within the applicable statute of limitations, purchased any of the Barilla products listed on this page with a label displaying the claim “Italy’s #1 Pasta Brand.”

I bought a lot of Barilla pasta. What happens afterwards?

Buyers of Barilla Pasta should be aware that when a proposed class action lawsuit is filed, there is usually nothing a person needs to do to join or ensure they are included in the case. For class actions, only if and when a lawsuit is settled may a consumer need to take action, usually by filing a claim form online or by mail.

If you are “subject” to a lawsuit that is being settled, you may receive notice by mail and/or email. This notice will contain information on how and when to file a claim, your legal rights, any evidence you may need to submit, and more.

Most proposed class action lawsuits like the one detailed on this page take some time to go through the legal process, usually toward settlement, dismissal, or arbitration. For now, Barilla Pasta buyers and anyone else interested in class action and settlement news should sign up for ClassAction.org’s free newsletter.

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