A federal appeals court has ruled that American Italian Pasta can market its products as “America’s favourite pasta” in spite of protests from bankrupt rival New World Pasta.

Since it bought Mueller’s dried pasta brand from Best Foods in 2000, American Italian Pasta has used the phrase “America’s favourite pasta” on the packaging.

New World Pasta objected to the use of the phrase, prompting its rival to seek a court ruling that its marketing was neither false nor misleading. The 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling, finding in favour of American Italian.

The three-judge panel said the phrase was non-actionable, harmlessly vague “puffery”, which can either be harmless boasting, “upon which no reasonable consumer would rely”, or “vague or highly subjective claims of product superiority, including bald assertions of superiority”, reported the Associated Press.