A California man is suing the company that makes Texas Pete hot sauce, accusing it of misleading customers with its name because its signature sauce is made in North Carolina.
The suit, filed in federal court in California last month, alleges that TW Garner Food Co. deceiving customers with its name and lone star logo on the iconic brand.
“There is nothing ‘Texas’ about Texas Pete,” wrote attorneys for Philip White, the plaintiff in the case. “Defendants have cheated their way into a market-leading position in the $3 billion hot-sauce industry at the expense of law-abiding competitors and consumers nationwide who want authentic Texas hot sauce and reasonably, but incorrectly, believe that it is what they get when they buy Texas Pete.”
White is hoping a judge can certify his suit as a class action, claiming the company has caused more than $5 million in damages with its inaccurate label.
But TW Garner Food doesn’t try to hide that its product is Texan in name only. The company explains the origin of the name on its website.
The company claims that its founder, Sam Garner, was trying to come up with a name for the family’s red pepper sauce in 1929 when one of his three sons suggested calling it “Mexican Joe.”
“No!” Garner said, according to the company’s history. “It must have an American name!”
He suggested Texas Pete after one of his sons’ nicknames.
But that explanation did not satisfy White.
“On his website, the defendant readily admits that he has no connection to Texas, while this is certainly not stated on the products or elsewhere at the point of purchase,” the suit reads.
An attorney for TW Garner Food did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company has until November 10 to respond to the case.