Just Mayo sued again over allegedly deceptive name.

  • In November 2014, Unilever (maker of Hellmann’s mayonnaise) sued Hampton Creek, the maker of a mayonnaise substitute called “Just Mayo.”  Unilever argued that Just Mayo was labeled and marketed as standard “mayonnaise” despite its failure to comply with FDA’s standard of identity for the product.   Under FDA’s definition, mayonnaise must contain egg, which Just Mayo does not.  A month later, however, Unilever dropped the lawsuit.
  • In February 2015, a consumer class action lawsuit based on nearly identical claims was filed against Hampton Creek in federal court in the southern district of Florida.   Shortly after filing, however, the case was voluntarily dismissed; the plaintiffs had not provided sufficient evidence to prove that damages exceeded the requisite $5 million threshold.
  •  Although Hampton Creek appears to have escaped its latest legal challenge, the plaintiffs potentially could re-file their suit in future.  The resurgence of a potential challenge against Just Mayo indicates how easily competitor challenges may trigger consumer lawsuits.   Food marketers should take heed of this risk, particularly as state consumer protection laws may be more flexible or plaintiff-friendly than the Lanham Act.