This week, a district court judge in The Hague (a city in The Netherlands) sided with plant-based company Impossible Foods in a ruling that requires Nestlé to change the name of its plant-based Incredible Burger to “Sensational Burger.” The judge ruled that Nestlé’s Incredible Burger infringed upon Impossible Foods’ name, branding, and visual identity in an attempt to confuse consumers. Nestlé debuted the soy- and wheat-based Incredible Burger under its Green Gourmet brand retailers across Europe in 2019. Under the ruling, Nestlé—which plans to appeal the decision—must remove the Incredible Burger under its current branding from store shelves within the period of four weeks or face a fine of €25,000 ($28,000) per day. Impossible Foods has yet to enter the European market but filed an application with the European Union seeking approval of marketing its key ingredient soy leghemoglobin (“heme”).
“This injunction from The Hague is a major victory—it’s a real David v. Goliath episode against the largest food company in the world, which was attempting to confuse consumers with an inferior attempt at a knock-off,” Rachel Konrad, a spokeswoman for Impossible Foods, told Bloomberg. “The branding, description, marketing, the name itself—just shameful.”
In the United States, Nestlé-owned vegetarian brand Sweet Earth launched its vegan Awesome Burger at retailers such as Safeway, Wegmans, Hy-Vee, Shop & Stop, and select Costco locations last year.
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