A proposed class action claims certain Twinings products are misleadingly labeled in that buyers are unaware that the tea sold stateside does not come from England, but instead from China and Poland.
Per the 21-page case out of Missouri, the representations on Twinings labels—including the “Twinings of London” brand name, a London address, and the statement “By Appointment To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Tea and Coffee Merchants R. Twining and Company Limited, London”—falsely imply that the tea is made in England, when this is no longer the case for Twinings tea sold outside the country.
“Rather, while British consumers can continue to enjoy Twinings tea from England (Twinings maintains a British factory for the British market), Twinings tea sold outside of England is now from China and Poland,” the complaint says.
The case contends that consumers would not have purchased the tea—which includes all Twinings packaged tea bag products, with the exception of Twinings Loose Leaf tea and Twinings Cold Infuse Flavoured Cold Water Enhancer items—or would have paid less for them, had they known the tea was not from England.
The lawsuit alleges defendant Twinings North America, Inc. exploits the “strong connection” between England and tea when marketing its products. According to the suit, consumers prefer tea from England due to the country’s historical expertise in tea processing and manufacturing. Although Twinings tea sold outside of England is sourced from China and Poland, Twinings capitalizes on the brand’s association with England by continuing to include references to the country on the product’s labels, the case argues.
The suit claims consumers purchased the Twinings products, or paid a premium price for the tea, based on the mistaken belief that it was from England, and were thereby deceived and misled by the defendant’s “false and deceptive packaging,” the case says.
“As the entity responsible for the development, manufacturing, processing, advertising, and sale of the Products, Defendant knew that the Products were not from England, but nevertheless intentionally maintained the England Representations on the Products,” the complaint scathes. “…Had Plaintiff and the Class members known the truth about the Products, they would not have purchased the Products, or would not have paid the prices they paid for the Products.”
The full complaint can be read below.
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