Hellmann’s Attacks Upstart Non-GMO Company With Lawsuit Claiming Their Product Is ‘Not Real Mayo’

As of late, more people in the United States have become savvy when it comes to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and what they do to the human body. Because of this revelation, more people are making wiser eating choices, such as choosing restaurants that use organic and all-natural ingredients like Panera Bread and Chick-fil-A. There are even movements against the organizations constantly pushing the horrors of GMOs upon the world, such as Monsanto. As a matter of fact, the Inquisitr reported that 50 countries have insultingly branded Monsanto the “Most Evil Company in the World.”

With that in mind, there is news that Hellmann’s, the company famous for their mayonnaise, is attacking an upstart company that promotes and makes a non-GMO version of mayo. Hellmann’s claims that the non-GMO company doesn’t really make “real mayo.”

According to articles by the Washington Post and Alt Health Works, the company that owns the Hellmann’s brand, Unilever, delivered a lawsuit against an upstart company from San Francisco known as Hampton Creek, which is responsible for the Just Mayo brand. The latter is an artisan company that prides itself on being both free from GMO ingredients and being a healthier options for both vegans and non-vegans alike.

What is peculiar about the lawsuit is that Hellmann’s isn’t attacking Just Mayo for being a non-GMO product. Instead, they are going after their name. According to the lawsuit, dictionaries and federal regulators define mayonnaise as a spread that “contains eggs.” Because of Just Mayo’s name, it has supposedly caused “irreparable harm” to Hellmann’s and, in return, Hellmann’s wants Just Mayo to change its name, pull the product from store shelves, and pay their parent company damages worth three times the startup’s profits thus far.

The San Jose Mecury News states that Hellmann’s is taking aim at Just Mayo because they are worried that the Just Mayo name might be falsely advertising the expectation of what consumers and cooks these days expect out of mayonnaise.

“Consumers and cooks have an expectation that mayonnaise should both taste and perform like mayonnaise. Just Mayo does neither.”

To be fair, this might be true. Just like all natural peanut butter differs from common peanut butter, the same is true for mayonnaise. Still, does Hellmann’s use of the word “real” actually account to natural ingredients? Apparently, the only reason why Hellmann’s uses the term is because they used whole eggs in their products.

During the Great Depression, Kraft introduced Miracle Whip, a cheaper alternative to regular mayonnaise. Unfortunately, Miracle Whip did not have that “real” appeal because they used powdered eggs instead of whole. When Hellmann’s found this out, they used the marketing tactic that their mayonnaise is real simply because they used whole eggs. Today, the “real” in Hellmann’s name is more for marketing than fact. GMO Insider reported the ingredients used in making Hellmann’s “Real” Mayonnaise is mostly unnatural GMO. Soybean oil is 93 percent GMO soy. Sugar is 54 percent from sugar beets which in turn is 90 percent GMO. Vinegar is made from corn which is 89 percent GMO. Eggs are from laying hens that are fed GMO corn and soy. Finally, the “natural flavors” term includes many ingredients, many considered to not be natural.

What do you think about this lawsuit? Do you think Hellmann’s is going after Just Mayo for their name or for their mantra of making a mayonnaise that is non-GMO?

[Images via Hellmann’s and Hampton Creek, Animated by Jan Omega]