A few weeks ago, a conglomerate food giant that makes $2 billion (yes, billion) dollars a year selling mayonnaise, sued a small company called Hampton Creek because they decided its mayonnaise isn’t really “mayonnaise” as defined by the FDA – in 1957! Uh-huh… Unilever, who makes I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, didn’t like that a mayonnaise without eggs, was taking some of its $2 billion market share! Can you say monopoly?
To add further insult to a profit margin injury, Unilever (didn’t they used to make soap?) was very upset that they dared to use an egg in their logo! An outrage! How can Hampton Creek imply that there is an egg in the jar when there clearly isn’t! Everyone knows Americans don’t read labels (or can’t because of deliberate mislabeling by food giants!). If they did, they would find out that Hellmann’s mayonnaise contains GMO soybean oil, salt, GMO sugar and wait for it.. calcium disodium EDTA!! What is that you may well ask? Well it is a chemical made from formaldehyde and a few other nasties. It is used primarily as a heavy metal chelator. Yes. I’m not sure how much of it is in a jar of Hellman’s but if you want to ingest calcium disodium EDTA then I think you should be told of the risks. Further info on EDTA can be found here http://tinyurl.com/9xy2wmj.
So what exactly IS vegan mayo and why would anyone want it when it is simply offensive… to Unilever? Well it is mayo made from organic oils and plant based ingredients (sshhhhh). Unilever proved to be so out of touch on this issue, an immediate social media backlash ensued and catapulted Hampton Creek right up the mayo market share map. In fact, they have enjoyed record sales and media attention like never before in the last 4 weeks. I don’t know if that has helped to reduce their legal bills but that’s another story. Hampton Creek actually had a stand at our local Whole Foods last week and I sampled the best mayo, tomato and rosemary cracker bites I’ve ever tasted! Some more incredible recipes HERE.
So as of today, I am very happy to share that Unilever dropped its suit against Hampton Creek (http://tinyurl.com/lqj62hb) because the company agreed to make changes to its label. Hampton Creek Chief Executive Josh Tetrick said the company “is keeping the Just Mayo name and not making changes to its label”. Interesting. Watch this space… For now the mayo war is over and Hampton Creek is basking in the vegan mayo success of this social media boon. And so it should. Its product is delicious and the fact the it uses non GMO ingredients, is preservative free and found in the fridge, it gets my vote. Goliath just took a big hit!