When it comes to choosing a coffee at the grocery store, many different factors can play into the decision. For those who appreciate a good brew, the roast, caffeine levels, whether it’s organic, and the origin of the bean are all clues that play into flavor and ultimately a purchase. However, some consumers may have been duped as to where this coffee came from, according to a lawsuit.
Recently, supermarket chain Kroger and Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee Co. agreed to pay a combined settlement of $14.3 million after class action lawsuit claimed they were marketing coffee as coming from the Kona region, when in fact it was “regular staple coffee”. And it wasn’t just Kroger that was selling the coffee. Costco, Amazon, World Market, Walmart and Safeway have all been charged in the lawsuit. In the past, similar allegations have been resolved, amounting to more than $13 million in a settlement paid for by Costco and TJX.
Grocery shoppers are paying more for Kona coffee, which is native to Hualalai and Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Coffee is only 1% of beans grown in the world and costs 25 cents a cup when brewed at home, so compared to the average price which is 16 and 18 cents per cup, it is much more expensive. When properly brewed and sourced locally, coffee is considered “delicate but with a rich flavor and aroma”.
The settlement will benefit coffee growers who worked between February 2015 and 2022. The lawsuit alleges that the growers were wronged because the counterfeit beans damage the reputation of the region and that they were forced to sell their product to a Lower price.
Coffee beans aren’t the only thing consumers are misled about when it comes to Aloha status. According SF door. Maui Style Potato Chips, Hawaiian Kings Bread, and Hawaiian Sea Salt from the Hawaiian Islands are all either made in other states or just unclear as to their origins.
Amber Lake is a staff writer at Eat This, Not That! and holds a journalism degree from UNF in Jacksonville, Florida. Read more