Of the five major pasta sauce brands that rounded out our Mashed survey, the one that received the top votes to beat out Barilla was Prego, which claimed 33% of the total vote. This was followed by Rao’s with 26%, then Ragu with 21%, and Bertolli with 12%. Last (and least) was Barilla. Although overwhelming sweetness has been noted as one of Barilla’s downfalls, there’s at least one other reason why customers might be steering clear of the brand.
In 2022, a class-action lawsuit was brought against the company by Matthew Sinatro and Jessica Prost, who claimed that the slogan — “Italy’s #1 brand of pasta” — was incredibly misleading given that the brand had manufacturing plants in Iowa and New York. Sinatro and Prost argued that Barilla saying its ingredients are from Italy carries “a certain prestige and [they are] generally viewed as a higher quality product,” per Today. Indeed, this alleged false advertising may just be enough to leave a bad taste in consumers’ mouths.