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Unilever Drops Suit Over 'Just Mayo'

Mayonnaise-maker Unilever has dropped a false advertising suit against egg-free startup "Just Mayo."
Just Mayo
In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, CEO Josh Tetrick holds a species of yellow pea used to make Just Mayo, a plant-based mayonnaise, at Hampton Creek Foods in San Francisco.AP

The "Great Mayo War of 2014" has ended in a truce. Hellmann's mayonnaise manufacturer Unilever has dropped its false advertising lawsuit against Hampton Creek, a new company producing an eggless condiment called "Just Mayo." Unilever asserted that federal food identity laws require mayonnaise to contain eggs and that the vegan spread was stealing market share and confusing customers by calling itself "mayo." Hellmann's mayonnaise contains eggs. The makers of "Just Mayo" -- which is sold nationally in Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Dollar Tree and elsewhere -- said they chose the brand name to navigate those labeling requirements. Press and public opinion was not on Unilever's side, with a 112,419 signature petition asking them to stop "bullying" the San Francisco-based startup. In a statement Thursday announcing the suit's withdrawal, Unilever’s North America Vice President for Foods Mike Faherty said, "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 labeling its products going forward." On Tuesday, Hampton Creek raised $90 million in additional venture capital funding.


--- Ben Popken