On Tuesday, August 25, 2015, the federal government, through its FDA, sent a warning letter to Hampton Creek claiming the same thing, that ‘Just Mayo’ was not mayonnaise because it did not contain eggs. In part, the letter states that “the name “Just Mayo” and an image of an egg are prominently featured on the labels for these products. The term “mayo” has long been used and understood as shorthand or slang for mayonnaise. The use of the term “mayo” in the product names and the image of an egg may be misleading to consumers because it may lead them to believe that the products are the standardized food, mayonnaise, which must contain eggs as described under 21 CFR 169.140(c).” The federal agency gave Hampton 15 days to respond to their warning letter.
This morning Florida ‘Just Mayo’ consumer, Jodi McMasters, said that “it’s not mayonnaise and doesn’t claim to be mayonnaise. They are using slang with the word Mayo.” This seems to be the root cause of why an earlier legal challenge to ‘Just Mayo’ failed last year.
Yesterday, August 26, 2015, Hampton Creek posted a picture of an advertisement on the side of a building noting that ‘Just Mayo’ has saved 2.1 billion gallons of water due to their more environmentally conscious way they manufacture their mayonnaise spread over their competition. Their ‘Just Mayo’ does not only have less impact on the environment, it is healthier than much of their competition as well.
Ironically, the day before the federal government sent the Hampton warning letter, Hampton Creek sent an open letter to President Barack Obama. The open letter was meant to get Obama to thinking about the architecture of the nation’s food system, as Hampton finds it terribly flawed. Much of the flawed system has been encouraged by federal government programs and policies.
Last year, mega-conglomerate Unilever sued Hampton Creek and then quickly dropped their lawsuit stating Hampton was was using the word ‘Mayo’ to describe their vegan food spread ‘Just Mayo’. The issue was Unilever felt it had exclusive use for the word and besides Hampton’s ‘Just Mayo’ wasn’t mayonnaise at all and was falsely advertising its products. Unilever quickly realized it had no case and was receiving a backlash of bad press, so they dropped the lawsuit within two months. It was not the end of the challenge for Hampton Creek; however.
It appears what got Unilever mad was that ‘Just Mayo’ was on store shelves right next to their mayo products and customers were choosing the better ‘Just Mayo’ product over their own, so they went crying to the courts. Seeing that they weren’t going to get very far there, they went to their friends in the federal government to shut down their competition. ‘Just Mayo’ is sold in a variety of stores – from Whole Foods to Wal-Mart. Hampton has also recently rolled out a healthier cookie dough and cookies under the names ‘Just Cookie Dough’ and ‘Just Cookies.’