No pistachios in pistachio ice cream? Cold Stone Creamery sued

A long Island woman sued Cold Stone Creamery for false advertisting in July 2022. The class-action lawsuit concerns the conspicuous absence of pistachio in the company's pistachio ice cream. In lieu of the genuine article, she was treated to a mixture of " water, Ethanol, Propylene Glycol, natural and artificial flavor, Yellow 5, and Blue 1, according to the lawsuit".

Propylene glycol! Yum!

"When consumers purchase pistachio ice cream, they expect pistachios, not a concoction of processed ingredients," Duncan's lawsuit reads, noting that competitors such as Haagen-Dazs use real pistachios in their ice cream.

[…]Should a consumer ordering pistachio ice cream expect actual pistachios?

"And if the answer is no, should that leave them with a bitter aftertaste," wrote the judge, whose decision was released in May.

Brown acknowledges in his ruling, which now allows the case to proceed, that Duncan's alleged claims of deceptive practices under New York's General Business Law "are plausible on their face" when it comes to the pistachio ice cream she purchased. The state's law prohibits "deceptive acts and practices in the conduct of any business, trade or commerce or in furnishing of any service."


Was this lawsuit prompted by sheer opportunity or the woman feeling genuinely deceived? It raises interesting questions about falsely advertised products, but the likely sole outcome of this legal kerfuffle will be a rhetorical change in Cold Stone's branding. In a year or two, the company will label their "pistachio" flavor in quotes with a wink and a nudge as "pistachio flavor", a la "butter spread".

Next, we'll find out that there isn't any bubblegum in the bubblegum flavor. Or worse, that there's nothing French at all in the French vanilla.