SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Emails from the American Egg Board revealed plans to stop its so-called “major threat,” San Francisco-based Hampton Creek. The food startup makes Just Mayo, an eggless mayonnaise alternative.
Its growing popularity had the egg industry scrambling.
“All of a sudden we’ve gone from just being here to having partnerships with Walmart and Costco and Whole Foods and Kroger. Compass Group, the biggest food service company in the world, really at record speed,” Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick told KPIX 5.
In the hundreds of emails obtained by The Guardian newspaper, members of the American Egg Board tried to stop Whole Foods from selling Just Mayo. The board even advised Unilever, which makes Best Foods mayonnaise, on its lawsuit against Hampton Creek.
“The amount of time that the egg industry and the USDA’s American Egg Board spent thinking and strategizing about how to take this company down does seem a little bit perverse,” Tetrick said.
Tetrick took the comments with a grain of salt, but there were some that stood out.
One member of the egg association wrote: “Can we pool our money and put a hit on him?”
A vice president of the board responded: “You want me to contact some of my old buddies in Brooklyn to pay Mr. Tetrick a visit?”
“That was a pretty strange one to read,” Tetrick said.
The American Egg Board responded with this statement: “We are aware of the comments made by an American Egg employee. While these comments were clearly made in jest, they were inappropriate and do not reflect out organizations values. We apologize for any offense.”
“This is an agency of the United States government and there’s much more important things to worry about,” Tetrick said.
Tetrick is expecting tensions to continue because they are not stopping with Just Mayo. They are going to unveil new products such as Just Dressing, Just Pancake Mix and Just Cookie Dough. Hampton Creek is also working on a plant-based scramble.