A new eggless mayonnaise-like product from Unilever will hit store shelves Feb. 15, the newest front in the consumer packaged goods company’s ongoing fight with Hampton Creek, makers of Just Mayo.
Available in a 15 oz. tub, Unilever’s plant-based dressing will be sold under the Hellman’s name and bear the description, “Carefully crafted dressing and sandwich spread.” It also is labeled as “free from” cholesterol, eggs and artificial colors and flavors.
In October 2014, Unilever filed suit against Hampton Creek, accusing the start-up firm of misrepresenting Just Mayo as mayonnaise, despite Hampton’s use of pea protein instead of eggs. The legal action ignited a social media backlash, with more than 100,000 signing the on-line petition, “Stop Bullying Sustainable Food Companies.”
Unilever subsequently dropped the suit, but in August the FDA sent Josh Tetrick, CEO of Hampton Creek, a warning letter, contending Just Mayo was mislabeled because the absence of eggs meant the product did not meet the standard of identity for mayonnaise. In December, FDA backed off, allowing Hampton Creek to continue using the name if it made some labeling modifications, including a declaration that the product was egg-free.
In addition to the new dressing, Unilever will debut a new certified-organic mayonnaise, made with eggs from cage-free hens.