King’s Hawaiian Rolls Facing Lawsuit Over Not Producing Rolls in Hawaii

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King’s Hawaiian Rolls Facing Lawsuit Over Not Producing Rolls in Hawaii
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Popular sweet bread manufacturer King’s Hawaiian is facing a class action lawsuit over alleged fraudulent marketing claims.

New York resident Robert Galinsky along with a similarly situated class of plaintiffs are suing the sweet bread creator over questions regarding the location of manufacturing of the product. Rather than being made in Hawaii and sent to the mainland for sale, King’s Hawaiian rolls are actually produced in Torrance, California and distributed nationwide.

King’s Hawaiian started in Hilo, Hawaii in the 1950s.

In the 1950s, Robert R. Taira opened his first bakery, “Robert’s Bakery”. It was here that the soft, round sweet bread known so well by consumers nowadays was born. Later, the business expanded to a larger bakery in Honolulu, Hawaii where the popularity of the product continued to skyrocket. In 1977 Taira moved their operations to a bakery in Torrance, California where it has successfully operated ever since.

The origins of the bakery are credited on the front label of the current King’s Hawaiian packaging.

The front label on this sweet bread’s trademark orange packaging reads “EST 1950 KING’S HAWAIIAN HILO, HAWAII”. It is allegedly this part of the packaging that the plaintiffs in this lawsuit take issue with. The complaint argues that due to the mention of Hilo, Hawaii on the front packaging, consumers are likely to believe that the product is made in Hawaii. To learn the true location of the product’s manufacturing, consumers would have to turn the product over and read the back of the label. The complaint goes on to say that had the consumers included in the class action been aware that the product was made in California, they would not have bought it or would have paid significantly less for it. For many consumers, it seems that the location of the product’s manufacturing calls into question it’s authenticity.

Galinsky points to consumers’ desire for authenticity with so many similar products on the market.

King’s Hawaiian was the first to make sweet rolls like this, which has resulted in past litigation by the company against others who attempted to use the packaging colors. In fact, “Hawaiian rolls” have begun to be produced by companies like Pillsbury and Sara Lee. Plaintiffs in this lawsuit make the argument that with so many choices, the reason they chose to purchase King’s Hawaiian was the belief that the product they were receiving had a certain level of authenticity when compared to the other brands. If the immediate place of origin had been mentioned on the front of the label rather than the original place of origin, Galinksy believes consumers may not have purchased the product at all, and that doing so actively misled consumers.

This is not the first lawsuit of its kind.

In fact, Hawaiian Host and Kona Brewing have all faced lawsuits over similar concerns regarding the manufacturing location of these products. If successful, this lawsuit will likely require King’s Hawaiian to change their label and award whatever damages the court deems appropriate to those who were allegedly misled by the product.

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