KRAFT Foods Group Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Cracker Barrel Old Country Store over Cracker Barrel's plans to expand into supermarkets with Cracker Barrel brand bacon, ham and other foods.
Kraft wants a marketing agreement to be declared void between Cracker Barrel and John Morrell & Co. in which Morrell would produce the food products for Cracker Barrel.
Kraft noted that it began producing Cracker Barrel cheese in 1954 and that Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which operates 620 casual restaurants around the country, was established in 1969.
Kraft said it has never taken issue with the restaurant because it sold only a few candies, mixes and sauces under the Cracker Barrel brand and only in its restaurants and on its website.
However, Kraft said the agreement with Morrell to branch out into supermarkets violates Kraft's Cracker Barrel cheese market. Kraft has more than 20 Cracker Barrel products, including bars, blocks and slices.
Morrell is a business of Smithfield Foods Inc.
Kraft, based in Northfield, Ill., is the largest cheese manufacturer in the U.S., marketing under the Kraft, Philadelphia and Velveeta brands, as well as Cracker Barrel. It also has the Oscar Mayer line of meat products.
Cracker Barrel is based in Lebanon, Tenn.