Target has formally delisted Hampton Creek in the wake of concerns over the US condiments maker’s products – but the Just mayonnaise owner has questioned the US retail giant’s motives and played down the impact the move could have on its sales.
In June, Target pulled all the Hampton Creek products it stocked in response to food safety allegations. The retailer said it had received allegations of pathogens being found at Hampton Creek’s San-Francisco based manufacturing facilities. Target had not confirmed any of the allegations nor their source and was not aware of anyone becoming ill as a result of eating the products. However, the retailer tipped off the US Food and Drug Administration.
A fortnight ago, Hampton Creek contacted Target in a bid to get its products restocked at the local retail giant after securing backing from the country’s Food and Drug Administration its products are safe.
However, Target said yesterday (21 August) during the episode it had taken the chance to look at its range and decided to no longer stock Hampton Creek’s products.
“Although the FDA is not pursuing this further, we used the opportunity to review our portfolio, as we regularly do, and decided to reconsider our relationship with Hampton Creek. We are not planning to bring Hampton Creek products back to Target and have openly communicated our decision with the Hampton Creek team,” Target said.
However, Target’s reason for dropping Hampton Creek’s products was disputed by the company.
“To our surprise, Target informed us that sharing with the public the FDA’s conclusion that our products are safe somehow violated Target’s vendor communication guidelines. Target told us this is what drove their decision to end our relationship, in spite of their pledge to bring back the products once the FDA confirmed their safety,” Hampton Creek founder and CEO Josh Tetrick said in a statement.
Bloomberg reported sales at Target were expected to generate US$5.5m in sales for Hampton Creek this year, or about a third of the company’s sales from stores.
In a separate statement, Hampton Creek said Bloomberg’s claims about its sales were “incorrect”.
Target represents a fraction of overall sales – a single-digit percentage of sales,” Hampton Creek said. “We’re in 20,000 retail doors. Retail is less than 50% of our overall business. Millions of people are eating our products at 3,300+ K-12 schools, 500+ universities, professional sports stadiums, Fortune 500 companies and government cafeterias nationwide through our partnership with Compass Group, the world’s largest foodservice company, as well as others.”