The company behind King's Hawaiian is facing a class-action lawsuit for allegedly misleading consumers into believing that their famous rolls were being made in Hawaii, Newsweek reports.
Robert Galinsky, of Yonkers, New York, filed the suit after purchasing King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and noticing how "Hilo, Hawaii" was prominently displayed front and center on the packaging, only to realize the product acknowledges in a smaller font on the back that it's actually made in Torrance, California. Galinsky claims King's Hawaiian "essentially invented this category of food" that has deceived customers into believing their brand is more authentic than its cheaper competitors.
"Reasonable consumers understand that the term 'Hawaiian Rolls' by itself, does not denote a roll made in Hawaii any more than a 'Moon Pie' can claim to have been baked on the moon," Galinsky argues. The suit includes images of alternative brands of "Hawaiian" rolls that aren't made in Hawaii either. Galinsky claims he wouldn't have spent more money on King's Hawaiian, if he knew about their origins in Torrance, California.
The "Our Story" part of the King's Hawaiian site talks about the history of the rolls which start with Hawaii native Robert R. Taira opening his first bakeshop called Robert's Bakery in the city of Hilo in the 1950s. Taira decided to expand his business by moving to King Street in Honolulu and changing the shop's name to King Bakery.
The company's growing popularity forced another expansion in 1977 to a 24,000-square-foot bakery in Torrance, California. The new location led to another name change: King’s Hawaiian Bakery. According to Law & Crime, the packaging states "King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, established in 1950 in Hilo, Hawaii."
King's Hawaiian is being accused in the suit of unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud.