Feeling salty! Woman sues Cold Stone Creamery over lack of pistachios in pistachio ice cream

A federal judge recently ruled that the case over ice cream contents can move forward

Michelle Del Rey
Monday 10 June 2024 19:00
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Pandas tuck into ice creams

A woman in Long Island is suing an ice cream retailer after finding out that her pistachio ice cream lacked pistachios.

Jenna Marie Duncan filed a lawsuit against Cold Stone Creamery’s parent company, Kahala Franchising, claiming that the company is violating New York business law by promoting ice cream that’s made with artificial flavors.

“This deceptive marketing practice defies reasonable consumer expectations,” the lawsuit, filed in the US District Court Eastern District of New York in August states. “Consumers reasonably expect ice cream products to contain the ingredients plainly described in their name.”

Last month, Federal Judge Gary Brown ruled the case could move forward. If a jury agrees with Duncan, ice cream eaters like her could receive up to $50 under current New York law, according to Gothamist.

The suit takes aim at seven artificial flavors: pistachio ice cream, mango ice cream, coconut ice cream, orange sorbet, orange ice cream, mint ice cream and butter pecan. All of them contain artificial flavors concocted with highly processed ingredients, the complaint suggests.

A woman is suing Cold Stone Creamery claiming that the company is violating New York business law by selling pistachio ice cream without pistachios
A woman is suing Cold Stone Creamery claiming that the company is violating New York business law by selling pistachio ice cream without pistachios (Jenna Marie Duncan )

Cold Stone employees reach the desired pistachio flavor by combining water, ethanol, propylene glycol, natural and artificial flavor, yellow and blue food coloring the suit claims.

Additionally, it states the company does not make it clear to customers the flavors do not contain the desired ingredients.

“This is not what consumers expect when they purchase ice cream at a premium price,” the suit reads. Small sizes at the shop start at $7.50, the outlet reported.

The lawsuit argues it’s possible to create an ice cream with real flavors and names Haagen-Dazs, Thrifty and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors as examples. All of the company’s pistachio ice creams do contain pistachios, according to lists of ingredients included in the lawsuit.

Some of Cold Stone’s flavors do contain real ingredients. Their strawberry ice cream has strawberry, banana contains banana and chocolate and hazelnut has chocolate and hazelnut.

A recent independent marketing survey conducted for the litigation efforts showed that consumers can be deceived when ordering their favorite cold sweet treat. A number of respondents did believe that their ice cream contained real flavors.

“Consumers are willing to pay more for the products based on the belief that they contain their advertised ingredients,” the suit states. “Plaintiff and other consumers would have paid significantly less for the products, or would not have purchased them at all, had they known the truth about them.”

The plaintiff is arguing she is entitled to money in the case as a result of Cold Stone’s conduct. She is demanding a jury trial in the case.

A lawyer representing Cold Stone declined ot comment to the Associated press about the case.

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