Blue Diamond Growers has been hit with a proposed class action that alleges the flavoring of the company’s “Smokehouse” almonds is not derived from actual smoking. In truth and unbeknownst to consumers, the almonds’ taste comes exclusively from “added smoke flavor,” the 12-page lawsuit says.
At issue in the case is that although Blue Diamond Growers purports that its “Smokehouse” almonds’ flavor is obtained through the act of smoking—that is, cooking a food over an open fire containing wood chips whose smoke imparts flavor—consumers are not put on notice as to the true source of the nuts' smoky flavoring. Though the color scheme of the product’s red and orange packaging, not to mention the product’s trademarked name, reinforces to consumers that the almonds’ flavor is derived from genuine smoking, no mention is made with regard to any artificial source of smoky flavoring, the case argues.
By failing to include any qualifying terms preceding, following or in proximity to “Smokehouse,” consumers expect the almonds to contain “sufficient smoke flavor from actually being smoked” and not flavors that merely imitate smoking, the lawsuit says. Further still, the almonds’ ingredients list makes mention of “natural hickory smoke flavor,” which the lawsuit alleges is indicative that the almonds’ “smokiness” comes from added smoked flavor. Even if a consumer were to browse the almonds’ ingredients list, the case says, they would have no reason to think “natural hickory smoked flavor” does not mean the product was actually smoked.
The lawsuit goes on to note that some competitors accurately state on product labels that their almonds’ smokiness has been imparted with additional flavoring. Given Blue Diamond Growers makes no mention of such on their “Smokehouse” almonds, consumers are more likely to pay a premium price for the product, the suit claims.
“Had plaintiff and class members known the truth, they would not have bought the product or would have paid less for it,” the lawsuit says.
The suit looks to cover consumers who bought Blue Diamond Growers “Smokehouse” almonds nationwide.