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Godiva Faces Class Action Suit

Two men have filed suit on behalf of themselves and “other similarly situated” because they take issue with one small packaging detail.

Let’s be honest, most chocolate has a reputation for being delicious, though certain brands carry that tradition of taking it up a notch… and Godiva is one of them.

The company was founded in 1926 in Belgium, the homeland of great chocolate, and now operates some 600 stores of its own in the United States and is available in more than 10,000 others.

And while the company’s Belgian heritage is not up for debate, there is some conflict brewing around just how “Belgian” the company’s chocolate supply is – and the chocolatier has found itself the target of a class action lawsuit.

According to the Reading Eagle, the dispute centers on the Godiva plant in Exeter Township, Pennsylvania which shares the confectionary production load with the Belgian plant by producing 13 million pounds of chocolate every year.

But two men have filed suit on behalf of themselves and “other similarly situated” because they take issue with one small packaging detail: Godiva chocolate wrappers include the tagline “Belgium 1926” below the brand name, and Steve Hesse of New York and Adam Buxbaum of California say this implies the chocolates are made in Belgium when they are, instead, made in Pennsylvania.

The suit identifies several packages the plaintiffs believe to be misleading, and are urging a jury trial over the $5 million in damages they pursue. The suits says the company “intentionally plays on the false impression that the Chocolates are made in Belgium …  in order to enhance the image of Godiva Chocolates as luxury chocolates.” They say that, if they had known, they would not have purchased the chocolates or would have paid much less for them.

In a statement provided to the Eagle, Godiva spokesperson Tara McTeague notes that the company was started by the Draps family in Brussels in 1926 and that the product is still bursting with Belgian craftsmanship. She says the logo pays homage “to the time and place where (the company’s) story first began.”

And, to be fair, the company hasn’t exactly been hiding under a rock for a hundred years. In 1966 it was sold to the Campbell’s soup company and, shortly thereafter, began producing chocolate in New Jersey. So, you know… sixty years ago we found that out.

Also, if you have any of that unwanted Pennsylvania chocolate laying around, go ahead and send it to the IEN offices. We’ll… uh… dispose of it for you.

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