Media Moves

Court rules against Nestle in meatless burgers naming case

June 2, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

A Dutch court has ordered Nestle to change the name of its meatless burger to protect the competitive rights of rival Impossible Foods.

Saabira Chaudhuri reported the news for the Wall Street Journal:

Nestlé SA must stop branding its plant-based burger “Incredible” after a European court ruled the language infringed on Impossible Foods Inc.’s trademarks and could confuse consumers.

The order by the District Court of The Hague in the Netherlands means Nestlé has to change the name of its Garden Gourmet Incredible Burger throughout the European Union. Nestlé said it would rebrand the product as Sensational across Europe, while also appealing the decision.

The ruling is a setback for the world’s biggest packaged-foods maker, which has sought growth in the burgeoning market for plant-based products at a time when many other packaged foods have struggled as consumers reach for cheaper alternatives or higher-end fresh food.

Pan Demetrakakes from Food Processing wrote:

The District Court of the Hague ordered Nestlé to stop using the word “Incredible” for its plant-based analogue Garden Gourmet Incredible Burger. The ruling came in a case brought by Impossible Foods, which argued that it was planning to introduce product in Europe and that Nestlé was deliberately trying to confuse consumers by calling its product Incredible.

The court gave Nestlé four weeks to take product branded “Incredible” off European store shelves or face a fine of 25,000 Euros ($27,820) per day. Nestlé said it would rebrand its meatless burgers as “Sensational,” while expressing disappointment in the ruling and promising to appeal.

Nestlé introduced the Incredible Burger in April in Europe and Australia. In the U.S., it sells a differently formulated meatless burger branded “Awesome Burger.”

MarketWatch’s Lina Saigol noted:

Plant-based meat alternatives have soared in popularity during the coronavirus lockdown as the pandemic has disrupted the $213 billion U.S. meat industry, forcing industry giants including Tyson Foods TSN, +1.90%, Smithfield Foods and Cargill to temporarily shutter plants.

Grocery-store sales of fresh alternative-meat products such as Beyond Meat and Tofurky rose by 264% in the nine weeks ending May 2, a $25.7 million increase and faster than they were growing in February before the crisis hit the U.S., according to data from Nielsen cited in a report by The Wall Street Journal. Fresh meat sales rose 45%, or by $3.8 billion, over that period, the Nielsen data showed.

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