Truth in advertising is important to most people, but especially to Robert Galinsky. UPI reports that the Yonkers, NY, resident has filed a class-action lawsuit against King's Hawaiian, a maker of Hawaiian sweet rolls based in Torrance, Calif.—hence leading to Galinsky's complaint. In his suit, Galinsky says that even though the California location is noted on the back of the rolls' packaging, "Hilo, Hawaii" adorns the front, which led him to believe the bread was made in the Aloha State. Galinsky adds in his complaint that King's Hawaiian has filed its own suits against other manufacturers to keep them from using the word "Hawaiian rolls" in their marketing collateral, essentially making the company his main target.
King's Hawaiian "is the leading seller of Hawaiian rolls and essentially invented this category of food," Galinsky says in his suit. The company's website explains it was founded in the 1950s in Hilo by Hawaiian Robert Taira and named Robert's Bakery. When it expanded and moved to King Street in Honolulu, it was renamed King's Bakery. But "Robert was determined to spread his Aloha Spirit all across the mainland," the site notes, and so in 1977 the company moved to a new facility in Torrance and rebranded as King's Hawaiian Bakery, which is its current name. Galinsky says the company knew that placing "Hilo" prominently on the front of the packaging "would [mislead] consumers," his suit claims, per Top Class Actions. Hawaii News Now notes this type of complaint regarding the use of Hawaii-themed labeling has happened before, including with Kona Brewing and Hawaiian Host. (Read more lawsuit stories.)