US supermarket operator Trader Joe’s is facing legal action over claims that it “systematically eliminated” its ice cream and dairy brokers from the marketplace.

According to National Dairy Products and Dairy Smart Inc, Trader Joe’s “coerced product suppliers and manufacturers” into cancelling contracts with them in March 2013. The companies allege that after Trader Joe’s “wrongfully interfered with the contractual and prospective economic relationship between Dairy Smart, NDP and their vendors”, all of these vendors ceased working with the companies

The companies say they suffered financial losses as a result of Trader Joe’s actions and have brought a lawsuit against the US retailer. The grievances listed in the complaint include: “intentional interference with contractual relations, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and acting in bad faith”.

“Our clients helped build Trader Joe’s ice cream products which generated tremendous revenues for the grocer,” said attorney Ricardo Echeverria. “Once TJ’s decided it would be more profitable doing business without Natural Dairy Products and Dairy Smart they purposefully railroaded their business relationships.”

National Dairy Products and Dairy Smart acted as brokers for Trader Joe’s in the ice cream, yoghurt, sour cream and butter categories.

The case is Natural Dairy Products, Dairy Smart v Trader Joe’s, Case No. BC550578 filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

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Trader Joe’s was not immediately available for comment.