Printer Friendly

SPAGHETTI SAUCE WARS HEAT UP AS 'RAGU' SUES CAMPBELL IN EFFORT TO PREVENT 'PREGO' FROM MOVING TO NO. 1 MARKET POSITION

 CAMDEN, N.J., Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The spaghetti sauce wars are heating up as the category's two biggest players are in the "thick" of a somewhat thin lawsuit.
 The makers of "Ragu" spaghetti sauce, Van den Bergh Foods Co., a unit of Unilever, have filed suit in U.S. District Court in an effort to stop comparative advertising that demonstrates that Campbell Soup Company's (NYSE: CPB) "Prego" spaghetti sauce is thicker than "Ragu" Old World Style spaghetti sauce. Campbell has called the suit "thin" and has said it will vigorously defend its case.
 In the complaint -- in which "Ragu" admits "Prego" is thicker than Old World Style -- "Ragu" alleges that, even though the challenged claim prominently identifies the "Ragu" Old World Style line, Campbell should not make the comparisons because consumers might be confused and assume the comparison is against other "Ragu" brands.
 "This case is preposterous," said Alfred Poe, president of Campbell's Meal Enhancement Group. "Ragu resorted to litigation because Old World Style is losing with American consumers. Tests show that our product is superior to 'Ragu' Old World Style and we will not be swayed by these desperate tactics."
 "Prego" has run advertisements for years showing how its sauce is thicker than "Ragu" Old World Style, including side-by-side comparisons where "Ragu" Old World Style runs through a slotted spoon, a strainer and seeps through a plate of pasta. In every instance where "Prego" pasta sauce is compared to "Ragu" Old World Style spaghetti sauce, product lines being compared are clearly labeled in audio and/or visual identifications.
 As early as 1987, "Ragu" had a more than 50% share of the spaghetti sauce category. According to recent market data, Campbell's "Prego" brand is now virtually even with "Ragu". Newer players to the pasta sauce category also have garnered significant share and contributed to Ragu's decline.
 "This suit is only the latest in a series of attempts by Ragu to stop the Prego comparative advertising campaign and prevent consumers from having information related to their buying decisions," Poe continued. "Ragu, in fact, concedes that Prego is thicker than Ragu Old World Style spaghetti sauce. They've conceded that fact in this lawsuit as well as in their past challenges. Some of our customers tell us they think Ragu filed the suit because Prego is moving to the number one share position."
 "We are confident that we will prevail in this latest frivolous action just as `Prego' spaghetti sauce has prevailed in the marketplace," added Poe.
 /delval/
 -0- 8/3/93
 /CONTACT: Kevin G. Lowery of Campbell Soup, 609-342-8533/
 (CPB)


CO: Campbell Soup Company; Van den Bergh Foods Co.; Unilever ST: New Jersey IN: FOD SU:

MK -- PH011 -- 9292 08/04/93 10:46 EDT
COPYRIGHT 1993 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 4, 1993
Words:453
Previous Article:PENNSYLVANIA LABOR AND INDUSTRY SECRETARY FOLEY ANNOUNCES TRAINING AND JOB PROGRAM FOR RECENTLY DISCHARGED VETERANS
Next Article:HEAVENLY SKI RESORT SELECTS GOLDBERG, MOSER, O'NEILL IN CLOSELY CONTESTED BID FOR NEW ADVERTISING AGENCY
Topics:

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters