Two giants of the American snacking industry are set for a salty standoff over popcorn.
British brand Metcalfe's Skinny Popcorn could face a legal barrier to being sold the US, after a rival launched a trademark action last week.
Amplify Snack Brands has filed a suit against Snyder's Lance, which owns Metcalfe’s. The company claimed that the Skinny Popcorn brand infringes on its own Skinnypop product, and labelled its competitor's actions as a “deceptive use and importation of popcorn products”.
Amplify CEO Tom Ennis said: “Snyder’s Lance's and Metcalfe's effort to copy our brand name is flattering but not how trade competitors should behave.”
While Skinnypop was launched in Chicago in 2010, Metcalfe's was established in 2009.
Ennis also claimed that “infringing products are being sold by Snyders-Lance and Metcalfe that include false registration marks and which are attempting to trade off of the goodwill of our Skinnypop brand."
Snyder's Lance took control of Metcalfe's last year through its Kettle Foods arm, after acquiring it from founder Julian Metcalfe, who also founded Pret a Manger and Itsu.
Popcorn is quickly becoming hot property in the snack market, with global sales predicted to reach $12.4bn (£9.85bn) by 2020. America is a crucial market, with Amplify’s own research showing that 14 per cent of US citizens would rather forfeit the right to vote than give up snacks.