NEW YORK (AP) — Hellmann's has figured out that if you can't beat them, you might as well join them.
After suing a vegan mayo maker for false advertising, Hellmann's parent company Unilever is launching its own eggless spread. The company said Tuesday that its first eggless version of Hellmann's will hit shelves later this month under the label "Carefully Crafted Dressing and Sandwich Spread."
The cumbersome name arrives in the shadow of Unilever's public fight with Hampton Creek, a San Francisco startup that makes an eggless spread called Just Mayo. Unilever sued the company in 2014, saying that Just Mayo's name was misleading because it doesn't contain eggs, as required by the federal standard of identity for mayonnaise.
Unilever later dropped the suit after a backlash.
When asked whether Hellmann's new spread was the company's answer to Just Mayo, marketing director Russell Lilly said it was simply catering to its customers' tastes.
"What this is about is providing choices to the millions of Hellmann's fans," Lilly said. To appeal to more customers, Hellmann's is also introducing its first organic mayonnaise this month.
Hellmann's, known as Best Foods in some regions, is by far the country's No. 1 mayonnaise, though its share slipped slightly to 46.6 percent, from 46.9 percent in 2014, according to market researcher Euromonitor International.
Overall mayonnaise sales declined to $1.8 billion, from $1.83 billion the previous year.