Kona Coffee Farmers Clinches Triumph In $7 Million Settlement
Kona coffee farmers have scored a victory as different coffee companies have agreed to pay up $7 million in a class action lawsuit settlement just announced earlier this month.
The Kona farmers have reached a settlement with coffee companies that allegedly falsely advertised their coffee products as Kona coffee, yet the origins of the coffee beans used in their products are nowhere near the Kona region.
Accused of violating the Lanham Act, the coffee companies wrongfully profited after they falsely claimed that their coffee products were Kona coffee and from the region around, yet they were ordinary commodity coffee.
It was alleged that not only coffee companies but distributors, wholesalers, and retailers were in the scheme too.
This ended up hurting the affected Kona coffee farmers after companies have flooded the market with fake Kona coffee products, thus driving the prices down.
The legitimate and authentic Kona coffee produced by farmers is then unable to compete in a competitive market created by erring coffee companies for their own benefit.
Also, because of the ordinary coffee used in the fakes, consumers end up thinking that there is nothing special and unique about Kona coffee which drives down consumers’ perceived value of the product.
This may dissuade them from buying authentic Kona coffee in the future – further inflicting economic misery to the affected farmers.
Only five of the accused coffee companies have decided to push through with a settlement agreement with the aggrieved Kona coffee farmers.
They are the following:
- Pacific Coffee, Inc. (Maui Coffee Co.)
- BCC Assets LLC (Boyer’s Coffee)
- Cost Plus Inc.
- Cameron’s Coffee and Distribution Co.
- Copper Moon Coffee LLC.
Though they agreed to the settlement, they vehemently deny any wrongdoing.
Besides the monetary payment, the aforementioned companies also promised to change their labeling methods in the future.
They will now include a label on its Kona coffee products stating in the front information about the minimum percentage of authentically farmed Kona coffee beans are contained in the product.
Only Hawaii’s State Department of Agriculture has the authority to certify if a product contains a hundred percent authentic Kona coffee beans.
Benefactors in the settlement include all individuals and entities who have cultivated Kona coffee beans in the Kona district and have sold their Kona coffee beans between February 27, 2015, and February 17, 2021.
More details about the settlement are available for viewing on the settlement’s official website.
Editor’s Note on Kona Coffee Farmers Settlement For $7 Million:
This feature’s goal is to inform you of the latest settlement in the Kona Coffee Class Action Lawsuit concerning coffee farmers from Hawaii accusing coffee companies and sellers of misleading customers into buying inauthentic Kona coffee product offerings.
This ended up hurting the industry of these individuals, thus the lawsuit being filed in court and plaintiffs scoring a victory with a settlement being announced and reported by media outlets in early March.
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