In the same week that Bega Cheese put its stamp on the former Kraft peanut butter product, Kraft Heinz Australia has announced plans to relaunch Kraft peanut butter in the new year.
The clash could be played out in court, in what Kraft Heinz claims is a violation of Kraft’s intellectual property rights, according to news.com.au.
Bega's move into the cateogry follows its purchase earlier this year of the Kraft factory from Mondelez International where the category-leading product was previously made.
Aside from now carrying the name Bega, the packaging on the former Kraft range has also been “slightly ‘refreshed”, Bega Cheese revealed.
The contents remained the same, however, according to Bega Cheese, and had “the same ‘never oily, never dry’ recipe, the same taste, made by the same people, at the same factory”.
The main difference with the former Kraft peanut butter range, Bega said, is that it is now owned by an Australian company, “keeping the jobs and money at home”.
Since then, The Kraft Heinz Company, which last week announced its acquisition of the Cerebos Food & Instant Coffee business in Australia & New Zealand, has revealed plans to reenter the peanut butter market in Australia early next year.
How the legal stoush will play out on pack has yet to be seen, however Bruno Lino, CEO of Kraft Heinz Australia told Food & Drink Business that “The future of the Kraft brand has never been in doubt".
"A series of historical corporate decisions saw the brand licensed to an external company for a limited period of time under strict conditions," he said.
"It has always been our intention to continue with Kraft products in Australia. Kraft Singles will appear on supermarket shelves shortly and Kraft Peanut Butter in the New Year; both of which will be manufactured locally.”
A Bega Cheese spokesperson said the company could not speculate on Kraft's plans but Bega Cheese had purchased the original never oily, never dry recipe, as well as the Victorian factory where the former Kraft Peanut Butter was made for 55 years.
"Bega is proud to own and manufacture the same great tasting peanut butter that Australians have loved for 55 years in the exact same factory. The only change to Australia’s favourite peanut butter is that it will be sold as Bega Peanut Butter," the spokesperson said.