Dunkin’ Donuts Franchises Settle Lawsuits Over Butter Substitute

Image courtesy of Consumerist

When you ask for a buttered bagel, what do you mean? Do you want a spread made from the milk of cows, or would you be fine with any spreadable facsimile thereof? A man who wanted the former sued Dunkin’ Donuts last year after getting a bagel that was slathered in butter substitute, and will now receive a settlement in the case.

A man from the Worcester, MA, area filed two lawsuits last year in county court, accusing more than 20 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the state of serving people butter substitute as butter, reports The Boston Globe.

The suits sought class-action status to represent any Dunkin’ customer who “ordered a baked product, such as a bagel, with butter, but instead received margarine or butter substitute between June 24, 2012, and June 24, 2016.”

His lawyer admits that the legal fight may seem like a small thing to fight about in the grand scheme of things, but hey, some people really like their butter, he told the Globe.

“The main point of the lawsuit is to stop the practice of representing one thing and selling a different thing,” he explained to the Globe. “It’s a minor thing, but at the same time, if somebody goes in and makes a point to order butter for the bagel… they don’t want margarine or some other kind of chemical substitute.”

An attorney for one group of 17 franchises involved in the lawsuit said a settlement has already been reached, though he declined to say if the plaintiff will receive any money. He did say that the stores he represents have changed how they provide butter, though he declined to provide specifics.

“The litigant is satisfied with the operational changes made in those stores,” he told the Globe.

A spokesperson for Dunkin’ said the company wasn’t aware of the lawsuit, but that most stores in Massachusetts carry individual whipped butter packets that customers can use instead of a butter-substitute vegetable spread.

This isn’t the first time Dunkin’ has faced backlash over butter substitutes: Back in 2013, another Massachusetts resident was highly displeased to find margarine on his bagel, which he wanted buttered.

At the time, Dunkin’ said the switch was about being safe.

“For food safety reasons, we do not allow butter to be stored at room temperature,” a spokesperson explained then, “which is the temperature necessary for butter to be easily spread onto a bagel or pastry.”

The company recommends that their stores serve individual butter packets with the bagel instead.