Make your home page

Federal judge bags lawsuit over origins of ‘Popcorn Indiana’

Federal judge dismisses suit against Popcorn Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A federal court on Thursday dismissed a Greenwood woman’s complaint that she and other consumers were misled to believe a product called “Popcorn Indiana” was made entirely in the Hoosier state.

Melissa Gibson in November sued Eagle Family Foods Group because she’d purchased its popcorn from the Greenwood Walmart and other locations with the belief the name “referred to where the company was from and where it was made, including the growing of the popcorn and popping it.”

Gibson’s lawsuit said, “Today’s consumers are faced with increasing commercialization of products and seek brands that are genuine – whisky from Scotland, sake from Japan, and tomatoes from Italy.”

“Consumers will pay a price premium for what they perceive to be authentic products linked to a specific place, such as popcorn grown and popped in Indiana,” Gibson added.

Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of U.S. District Court in Indianapolis noted in her decision, “Although the Product is made with corn grown in Indiana, it is not made (popped) in Indiana, and Eagle is not an Indiana company.

“Neither the front nor back of the Product packaging states that the Product is not made in Indiana or by an Indiana company, though Eagle’s website states that the Product is manufactured in Illinois,” the judge’s ruling continued.

She also wrote, “Eagle contends Gibson may not seek injunctive relief because she faces no future risk of deception. Specifically, Gibson now ‘knows the geographic origin of Popcorn Indiana products, (so) she cannot plausibly claim that she faces any future risk of being misled on the geographic origin of the products.’ The Court agrees.”

The judge also noted Popcorn Indiana sells for about $2.99 for a 3-ounce bag.

Indiana and Nebraska are the nation’s leaders in popcorn production, trading places as having the most acreage devoted to the crop in recent years.

Popcorn became Indiana’s official snack on July 1, 2021.