Consumers sue potato chip maker over use of ‘Hawaiian’ brand

HONOLULU — A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the maker of potato chips sold under the brand name Hawaiian, claiming the chips made in Washington state are misleading customers.

Michael Maeda of Honolulu and Iliana Sanchez of Los Angeles filed the suit last month, alleging Pinnacle Foods Inc. is using false and deceptive advertising and fraudulent and unfair business practices, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday.

They claim they and consumers like them would not have purchased the chips, or would have paid significantly less, if they knew the snacks were made outside of Hawaii and without ingredients from the state.

Tim’s Cascade Snacks, a subsidiary of Pinnacle Specialty Foods, sells Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips in several flavors. It also sells onion rings under the Hawaiian moniker. The chips and rings are made in a factory in Algona, Washington, according to the suit.

The chips’ packaging does not say the snacks are made in Hawaii. But the lawsuit claims Maeda and Sanchez thought they were purchasing authentic potato chips from Hawaii because of that same packaging.

The packaging features images of hula dancers wearing grass skirts and lei or others in traditional Hawaiian dress in front of iconic Hawaii landscapes.

An attorney for Pinnacle Foods, which is headquartered in New Jersey, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The suit was originally filed in state court, but the company moved the case to federal court last week.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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