A grocery shopper from Los Angeles has filed a class action lawsuit against the makers of Texas Pete hot sauce, accusing the company of false advertising because the popular condiment is made in North Carolina.
Philip White filed the suit against T.W. Garner Food Co claiming he had been deceived when he purchased a $3 bottle of Texas Pete at a Ralph’s grocery store in 2021, Nexstar Media Wire reported.
The company had “cheated its way to a market-leading position in the $3bn hot-sauce industry at the expense of law-abiding competitors and consumers nationwide who desire authentic Texas hot sauce”, Mr White alleges in the lawsuit.
Mr White goes on to state that the label includes “the famed white ‘lone’ star from the Texan flag together with a ‘lassoing’ cowboy”.
“There is surprisingly nothing Texas about them,” the complaint said.
Mr White claimed to have been surprised when he learn that Texas Pete is manufactured in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which T.W. Garner Food Co freely admits on its website.
In a 2014 article on its website, the company says the company’s founder Sam Garner and his sons Ralph and Harold came up with the name in the 1930s.
When a marketing advisor recommended the name “Mexican Joe,” Sam Garner rejected the idea in favour of an “American name”. He opted for Texas due to the state’s “reputation for spicy cuisine”, and Pete for his son Ralph’s nickname.
In his lawsuit, Mr White claims the hot sauce’s origin story was further evidence of alleged deception.
“In revealing the thought process behind its brand name, (T.W. Garner Food Co.) admits that Texas’s reputation was one they were trying to mimic and capitalise on when creating their brand,” the lawsuit states.
He went on to claim that the company was harming companies in Texas and misleading consumers.
Had Mr White known the sauce was made in North Carolina, he wouldn’t have purchased it, and he believes others have been similarly wronged.
“White relied upon the language and images displayed on the front label of the product, and at the time of purchase understood the product to be a Texas product,” the lawsuit states.
In a statement, a T.W. Garner Food Co spokesman said: “We are aware of the current lawsuit that has been filed against our company regarding the Texas Pete brand name.
“We are currently investigating these assertions with our legal counsel to find the clearest and most effective way to respond.”
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