Hellman's maker Unilever drops suit over 'Just Mayo'

Hellman's maker Unilever drops suit over 'Just Mayo'

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 18, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.


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ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. (AP) — Hellman's mayonnaise maker Unilever says that it has withdrawn its lawsuit against the maker of "Just Mayo."

Unilever filed suit against Hampton Creek earlier this year claiming the name of the small California company's product amounted to false advertising.

The consumer-products giant said that "Just Mayo" has no eggs and therefore doesn't meet the definition of mayonnaise. It argued that the word "mayo" implies that the product is mayonnaise, and that Hampton Creek was stealing market share from Hellman's.

Hampton Creek has said that it marketed its product as "mayo" rather than mayonnaise specifically to meet labeling regulations.

Unilever said Thursday that it decided to withdraw the lawsuit so that Hampton Creek can address its label directly with industry groups and regulatory authorities.

Unilever, which also sells the Best Foods brand, holds the biggest share of the U.S. mayonnaise market, estimated to be worth $2 billion annually, according to market-research firm Euromonitor.

But Unilever ended up with egg in its face over the matter when it turned out some of its products aren't exactly mayonnaise either.

Shortly after filing the lawsuit it tweaked references on its websites to products to refer to them as "mayonnaise dressing" rather than mayonnaise.

Josh Tetrick, CEO of San Francisco-based Hampton Creek, said that Just Mayo's label states that it is an egg-free product. The label features a white egg with a plant growing in front, which Tetrick said is the company's way of showing that they use plants instead of chicken eggs.

"Hampton Creek was founded to open our eyes to the problems the world faces. This moment has only validated why," Tetrick said in a statement.

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