Is Barilla really "the No. 1 pasta brand in Italy?"  A lawsuit says no

New York
CNN Business

Barrel can’t avoid class action lawsuit for allegedly misleading advertising about pasta’s origins, federal judge ruled this week.

At issue is the brand’s slogan “Italy’s No. 1 pasta brand,” which the lawsuit says can lead customers to believe it’s actually made in Italy. Customers who filed the complaint last year, Matthew Sinatro and Jessica Prost, said they bought several boxes of Barilla pasta thinking they were made in Italy.

They also said that Barilla misrepresents its Italian origin because it uses the colors of the Italian flag, “further perpetuating the idea that the products are authentic pasta from Italy”. They also say this with Barilla’s advertising campaign because it positions them “as genuine, genuine Italian pasta – made with ingredients sourced from Italy (like durum wheat) and made in Italy”, whereas this it’s not the case.

However, as shown on the Barilla website, it’s not. The pasta is made in Iowa and New York, using the same machines used at its factory in Parma, Italy. Barilla was founded in 1877 in the small Italian town and has grown as an “international group present in more than 100 countries”.

The judge ruled this week that the pair had suffered “economic harm” and presented enough evidence that they would not have bought Barilla if they knew it was not made in Italy. A box of Barilla can cost twice as much as a house brand.

Barilla did not immediately respond to CNN Business’ request for comment.

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