12/2/14 Mayo Wars

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Hello.  I’m Mark Hyman.

My neighbor uses mayonnaise when she makes sandwiches for her family.  Everyone except her husband.  He gets Miracle Whip.

For many people, they’re basically the same.

According to the Food & Drug Administration, they’re two different products.

Under FDA rules, “Mayonnaise is the emulsified semisolid food prepared from vegetable oil[, vinegar or lemon juice and, (here’s the important part) egg-yolks].”

If it doesn’t contain egg-yolk, you gotta call it something else.  Like salad dressing.  Or Veganaise.

Hampton Creek is a three-year old, San Francisco company.  It’s worth 30 million-dollars. [Some have called Hampton Creek a food technology company].

It makes something called Just Mayo.  You may have seen it at the store. It contains pea protein but not egg yolk.   It’s marketed  as less-expensive and healthier than traditional mayonnaise.

[Microsoft founder highlighted Hampton Creek in his “Future of Food” article.]

Unilever is a 118-billion dollar multinational.  It owns Hellman’s, and  it’s taking Hampton Creek to court.  It’s filed a lawsuit claiming the “vegan sandwich spread” is engaging in “unfair competition,” making “unsubstantiated superiority claims,” and “stealing market share from Hellmann’s.”

What the rest of us call “marketing.”

Unilever seeks financial damages.  And to bar the use of the name “Just Mayo.”

[Hampton Creek has signaled its intention to counter-sue Unilever.]

FDA regulations make no mention of mayo.  Only mayonnaise.

In a bit of irony, after it filed suit, Hellman’s began changing the names of some its products from “mayonnaise” to “mayonnaise dressing.”

This court battle could have repercussions for the consumer as more companies experiment with alternative ingredients to make traditional products.

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