Packages of Cascadian Farm brand frozen fruits and vegetables show an image of a farm in the Skagit Valley region in the state of Washington. The complaint for this class action claims by this and other means the brand gives the impression that the fruits and vegetables are grown on this small farm in Washington state, when they are actually the products of agribusiness and sourced from all over the world.
The primary class for this action is all persons who bought any of defendants’ products in California between February 28, 2014 and the present. The Imported Subclass includes all persons who bought any of defendants’ imported products.
Cascadian Farm began in 1972 as a small brand of organic food offered by Small Planet Foods, Inc. When it was acquired by General Mills in 1999, the complaint claims that General Mills retained the brand and the Small Planet company as a subsidiary because it knew that consumers who preferred organic foods and small farms would be suspicious of a multinational corporation whose best-known product was sugary cereals.
The complaint claims that General Mills operates a separate Cascadian Farm website, which invites consumers to visit “our farm” and features a video showing individuals hand-picking produce, old, simple tractors, and a backdrop of the Cascade Mountains. At no time, the complaint claims, does the video reveal that the products come from other locations, much less other countries.
A section on the website purportedly telling the story of the farm admits, “Today Cascadian Farm has grown beyond our original farm” but does not identify any other locations.
In addition, packages for the products invite consumers to “Visit Our Home Farm” at the top of a side panel. Only on the back, in a small rectangle on the bottom half of the package, printed sideways, is there information about the true origin of the fruits or vegetables, such as “Product of Mexico/Chile.”
The complaint claims that the defendants are violating a number of California and federal laws, such as the California Legal Remedies Act and false advertising laws. The products at issue include the following: