After igniting controversy, Unilever, maker of Hellmann’s’ mayonnaise, decided to drop their lawsuit against the relatively unknown small vegan mayo company, Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo. Originally, Unilever had contended that because Hampton Creek’s mayo spread does not contain eggs, it cannot rightfully be called “mayo,” insofar as it was short for mayonnaise, and sued the company for false advertising. The laws on the books state that mayonnaise must contain several critical ingredients, including egg whites.
Critics of the lawsuit said that a large company like Unilever nitpicking with a small business was just unnecessary bullying. Just six weeks after the lawsuit was announced, Unilever dropped it, though whether it was due to the criticism is unclear.
“Unilever has decided to withdraw its lawsuit against Hampton Creek so that Hampton Creek can address its label directly with industry groups and appropriate regulatory authorities,” said Mike Faherty, Vice President for Foods, Unilever North America in a statement. “We applaud Hampton Creek’s commitment to innovation and its inspired corporate purpose. 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.”
The news of the lawsuit withdrawal came on the same day as the announcement of a new $90 million fund secured by Hampton Creek, which will be used to improve their technology and international distribution.