Unilever edits product description in messy mayonnaise row

Unilever took legal action against egg-less spread 'Just Mayo' on the grounds that customers equate "mayo" to "mayonnaise". Now it appears to have edited its own product descriptions

City Staff
Monday 17 November 2014 17:53
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Battle of the brands... Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo is an egg-free product made from yellow pea
Battle of the brands... Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo is an egg-free product made from yellow pea

After suing a small California company for calling its product "Just Mayo", Unilever, the maker of Hellmann's mayonnaise, has tweaked its website to clarify that some of its own salad dressings do not contain mayonnaise either.

The move comes after Unilever took legal action against Hampton Creek, a San Francisco-based start-up that touts the backing of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, for false advertising on the grounds that its egg-less products use the word “Mayo”.

In the lawsuit, Unilever argued “Just Mayo” implies that the product is mayonnaise even-though it does not contain eggs and that, according to the American Food and Drugs Administration, mayonnaise must contain eggs and a percentage of oil.

Now, the food giant appears to have changed the description of some of its own salad dressings because they do not contain the ingredients to qualify as mayonnaise either, but were described in the same way as “Just Mayo”.

Michele Simon, a public health lawyer,told the Associated Press she was discussing the case with Hampton Creek when she noticed the changes being made on the Hellmann's website.

The Anglo-Dutch multinational holds the biggest share of the US mayonnaise market, which is estimated to be worth $2 billion annually, according to market-research firm Euromonitor. That's more than twice the size of the ketchup market.

Additional reporting AP

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