Front-of-pack “clean labels” have become one of the most important ways for brands to demonstrate their whole food characteristics. But it’s also becoming a source of legal tension.
The legal saga between Snyder’s-Lance, the maker of Pretzel Crisps, and PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay, maker of Rold Gold’s Pretzel Thins, seems to be only beginning.– and the ongoing court proceedings are already serving as a cautionary tale to emerging food and beverage brands.
From patent restrictions and investor complaints to false labeling claims, these are the cases creating — or aiming to clean up — messy food dealings.
Food fights are breaking out in court. HaloTop, Mars Inc, KerryGold and Chobani all found themselves in legal battles spanning trademark infringements to reports of assault over the past month. Here’s what we know so far about the cases, why they were filed, and what they could mean for the companies involved.
Amplify Snack Brands, the company behind SkinnyPop Popcorn, and snack giant Snyder’s-Lance began a legal battle over the word “skinny” last week. Amplify filed a federal trademark infringement and unfair competition lawsuit against Snyder’s over the company’s plans to start selling its newly acquired popcorn brand, Metcalfe’s Skinny, in the U.S.
Earlier this month, State Senator Bob Wieckowski, a Democrat, introduced California SB 504, a bill that would require warning labels on all food containing synthetic dyes, including those sold in restaurants. It’s an issue that may cause food manufacturers to reconsider their use of synthetic colors not just in California, but nationwide.
At a time when a federal district court in California has been nicknamed “The Food Court” because of the number of consumer actions it has addressed, it’s become apparent that building a brand is about more than just growing sales, it’s about protecting those sales in the face of potential legal action.
Recent articles published by The Guardian and the Associated Press reported that members of the American Egg Board, a government-backed lobbying group, engaged in a long-running campaign intended to debilitate sales and distribution growth of Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo, a product that is formulated without eggs.
What do you do when your signature product’s name is deemed unacceptable by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? That’s the situation Hampton Creek is in after the government agency sent a warning letter to the company regarding its Just Mayo brand.