Viktor1 /
23 December 2014Trademarks

Unilever withdraws ‘Just Mayo’ lawsuit

The maker of Hellmann’s mayonnaise has withdrawn a lawsuit in which it accused a US start-up of falsely labelling its product as mayonnaise.

Multinational Unilever—and its subsidiary Conopco, which makes the Hellmann’s brand—had accused San Francisco-based Hampton Creek of misleading consumers because the name of its product ‘Just Mayo’ implies the product is mayonnaise, even though it does not contain eggs.

Hampton Creek’s mayonnaise alternative, which first went on sale a year ago, uses a Canadian pea plant instead of egg yolk.

Following its complaint, a Unilever spokesman told WIPR it was “protecting consumers and its brand”.

The company added that the US Food and Drug Administration and most dictionaries specify that mayonnaise contains egg yolk.

But, in a statement, Mike Faherty, vice president for foods at Unilever, said it had decided to withdraw so that Hampton Creek can “address its label directly with industry groups and appropriate regulatory authorities.”

Faherty continued: “We share a vision with Hampton Creek of a more sustainable world. It is for these reasons that we believe Hampton Creek will take the appropriate steps in labelling its products going forward.”

The dispute with Hampton Creek, whose supporters include Bill Gates, started at the end of October when Unilever sued at the US District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Unilever’s actions sparked online support for Hampton Creek including from US TV chef Andrew Zimmern.

Zimmern started an online petition at campaign website  asking Unilever to “stop bullying” small companies.  It attracted more than 112,000 supporters.

Hampton Creek did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

18 November 2014   Unilever, the owner of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, has defended its decision to sue a start-up company that produces eggless mayonnaise by claiming it is “protecting consumers and its brand”.
11 November 2014   The maker of Hellmann’s mayonnaise has sued a US company for false advertising, claiming it cannot call its product mayonnaise because it contains no eggs.