FGF Brands is facing a consumer class action lawsuit for allegedly falsely marketing its Stonefire Naan products as having been baked in a tandoor oven when it actuality, they are mass produced on a conveyor belt in a commercial oven heated with gas.
Naan is a type of leavened flatbread popular in Indian and other South and Central Asian cuisine, often served alongside curries. Traditionally, the naan cooking process is very intensive as it is baked in a tandoor oven, which is a small oven consisting of a clay or stone heating surface, surrounded with insulation (traditionally sand), and an outer housing (traditionally stone masonry or earth housing).
Many purists believe that there is no substitute for the flavor imparted by baking naan with a traditional stone or clay oven. However, because of the small size of a tandoor oven, its structural components, and its labor-intensive cooking process, naan has traditionally not been mass-produced in tandoor ovens.
Plaintiff Emily Friend brought the Stonefire Naan class action lawsuit, saying that FGF Brands misrepresented to consumers that it “tandoor oven bakes” its products. Beginning in 2005, FGF Brands began selling a wide variety of naan products, and labeling them as “tandoor oven baked” or “Tandoor Oven-Baked to Honor 2,000 Years of Tradition.” However, Friend says these representations are false and that Stonefire Naan is not baked in a tandoor oven, but is instead mass produced on an “endless” conveyor belt in a gas-heated commercial oven.
According to the complaint, by using the terms “tandoor” and “2,000 years of tradition” as well as the limitations of baking in a tandoor oven, implies a baking process devoid of automation or machinery as well as leads consumers to believe they are purchasing a higher quality products compared to those that are commercially mass-produced methods.
Friend says she was duped into purchasing Stonefire Naan, believing that the claims on the front and back of the packaging that the naan was “Tandoor oven baked” and baked in a tandoor oven “to honor 2,000 years of tradition”. She took this to mean, that Stonefire Naan was baked in small batches by hand in a tandoor oven and did not involve the conventional, automated methods of baking bread.
“She paid the premium price on the assumption that the labeling and marketing of the Mislabeled Naan were accurate and true. Plaintiff would not have paid this money had she known that the Mislabeled Naan was actually mass produced on a conveyor belt in a commercial oven,” the Stonefire Naan class action lawsuit asserts.
Friend is seeking to represent a nationwide, multi-state and Illinois Class of consumers who purchased one or more of the following Stonefire Naan products they believed to have been baked in a tandoor oven:
- Stonefire Original Naan
- Stonefire Roasted Garlic Naan
- Stonefire Whole Grain Naan
- Stonefire Organic Original Naan
- Stonefire Original Mini Naan
- Stonefire Ancient Grain Mini Naan
- Stonefire Naan Dippers
Friend is represented by Katrina Carroll, Kyle A. Shamberg, and Nicholas R. Lange of Lite DePalma Greenberg LLC and Richard R. Gordon of Gordon Law Offices Ltd.
The Stonefire Naan Class Action Lawsuit is Emily Friend FGF Brands, Case No. 1:18-cv-07644, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.