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Hampton Creek’s signature product. Official
Hampton Creek: Is the a forward-thinking food company trying to do the civilization a much better place? Or is that a shady Silicon valley startup trying cheat its way into big bucks? The answer will vary depending on whom girlfriend ask. Hampton Creek, and its signature product, a vegetables mayonnaise referred to as Just Mayo, have been in the news quite a bit in recent years. What, exactly, is walking on?

What is Hampton Creek?

Headquartered in san Francisco, mockery Balk and also chief executive, management officer Joshua Tetrick started the agency in 2011. Balk ultimately left to take a task with The Humane Society, and Tetrick proceeds to operation the show. Hampton Creek’s product line contains a variety of vegan cookie doughs and salad dressings, however Just Mayo, mayonnaise that does not contain eggs, is the big-ticket item. Hampton Creek really hopes to be a catalyst in diminish meat consumption and promoting plant-based proteins.

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Why does one vegetable startup command so countless headlines?

Just Mayo has proven to be a renowned product, and also it has received some severe love native chef-turned-television star Andrew Zimmern. Zimmern featured it throughout an episode of Bizarre Foods, and he went on to prayer it as a something the could change the food sector as we recognize it. "Mark my words, founder josh Tetrick will win a Nobel prize one day," Zimmern created on his website in 2013. "You heard it right here first." the course, the agency has likewise been in ~ the facility of lot of controversies.

What sort of dispute could be linked to a vegan startup?

Because just Mayo no contain eggs, and also because significant individuals linked to America’s culinary scene have referred to as it "the future that food," the egg market isn’t a large fan of the product. Critical October, American Egg board chief executive, management officer jone Ivy took to an early retirement after it was found the pseudo-governmental lobbying firm — it’s funded by the egg industry yet run by the U.S. Room of agriculture — had been to run a shadow project to take simply Mayo turn off of supermarket shelves.

In august 2015, the Food and Drug administration sent Hampton Creek a warning letter regarding the "Just Mayo" name. The FDA suggested the name can be thought about misleading because it to be marketing an eggless product together mayonnaise. A freedom of information request by Tetrick revealed members that the American Egg plank leaned top top the FDA because that the warning letter, paid bloggers come write negative reviews of just Mayo, and also considered attempts come discredit its endorsees, such together Zimmern. The FDA eventually determined Hampton Creek could proceed calling its product just Mayo.

So, is Hampton Creek squeaky clean?

Maybe not. Last month, reports surfaced revealing a Hampton Creek project to buy up a far-reaching amount of just Mayo indigenous supermarkets — this was going on during a 2014 round of funding. Employee were apparently instructed to contact stores such in its entirety Foods, act as if lock were continuous customers, and place huge orders for simply Mayo, look at in an attempt to get the product ~ above shelves.

Was this an attempt to paint a rosier snapshot of the company for investors? Tetrick has actually denied any wrongdoing, informing Bloomberg the buyback was component of a quality manage program. However, anonymous former employees told the publishing the firm was make the efforts to develop some buzz about Just Mayo and also make Hampton Creek an ext attractive to undertaking capitalists.

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Is there an investigation right into this buyback program?

Yes. Bloomberg reports the U.S. Securities and also Exchange Commission and also the justice Department room both looking into the agency to identify if any kind of sort of fraud to be committed. The latter could lug criminal fees if any illegal activity is found. But, Tetrick doesn’t show up to be rattled. "We’re conscious of the unshened inquiry and we’ll be share the facts, together opposed come the inaccuracies reported by Bloomberg," he wrote in an email to the publication.