The skinny on looming popcorn war between Amplify Snack Brands and Snyder’s-Lance

Snyder's-Lance is purportedly planning to introduce Metcalfe's Skinny popcorn to the US market, but Amplify is seeking to get the launch halted. Pic: Metcalfe's

Two of the US’ largest snack manufacturers – Amplify Snack Brands and Snyder’s-Lance – are set to meet in court over rival brands of Better-For-You (BFY) popcorn.

Amplify Snack Brands has filed a federal trademark infringement and unfair competition lawsuit against Snyder’s-Lance in a federal district court in Austin, Texas, citing Metcalfe’s Skinny would infringe on its own Skinnypop brand.

According to the Amplify, Skinnypop accounted for more than $200m in sales in the US last year. The Austin-based snack maker also produces the Tyrrells, Paqui, Oatmega and Wholesome Food Company brands.

Through its Kettle Foods subsidiary, Snyder’s-Lance bought the remaining 74% stake in UK popcorn brand Metcalfe’s Skinny in September last year, and now purportedly plans to introduce the product to the US market.

However, Amplify has alleged a rollout of Metcalfe’s Skinny in the US would amount to “wilful infringement” of its Skinnypop trademark and is seeking to get the launch halted.

Imitation is the biggest form of flattery

Amplify’s CEO, Tom Ennis, said Metcalfe’s efforts to copy Skinnypop was flattering but not how trade competitors should behave.

“Even now, 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,” he said in the lawsuit.

Snyder’s-Lance, which owns brands including Metcalfe and Kettle Chips, is working to expand its 2017’s $2.1bn net revenue through focussing on healthy snacking, and launched several BFT products in the US earlier this year.

The case is Amplify Snack Brands, Inc v. Snyders-Lance, Kettle Foods and Metcalfe's Skinny, case number 1:17-cv-00334 in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, assigned to Judge Lee Yeakel.

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