Company Settles Case on Baking Process Claims
On February 16, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division granted final approval of a class action settlement, incentive reward, and attorneys’ fees and expenses that totaled more than $650,000. The settlement resulted from a 2018 lawsuit where plaintiffs argued that FGF Brands USA Inc. and FGF Brands, Inc. (defendants) made misleading claims regarding the baking process of their various naan products.
Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in 2018 against the defendants who sell naan Indian flatbread, challenging its “tandoor-baked naan” and “tandoor oven-baked to honor 2,000 years of tradition” claims as being false and misleading. Defendants baked the naan on a conveyor belt in a gas-heated commercial oven, not in traditional tandoor ovens, which are made from clay or stone. Plaintiffs claimed that there is no substitute for the flavor imparted by baking naan with a traditional stone or clay oven and that the defendants misled plaintiffs into believing that the baking process was devoid of automation or machinery and of a higher quality than mass-produced naan breads.
Defendants also are facing legal action over similar claims in Canada where plaintiffs filed a complaint alleging that it is deceptive for the defendants to equate the company’s conventional oven to a tandoor oven. The case is an example of a relatively rare challenge of a food preparation claim, outside of the “natural” claim context.