Pickle Company: Our Family Recipe Swiped by Whole Foods Brand

Grillo's is suing Patriot Pickle over alleged copycat recipe
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2023 3:00 AM CDT
Pickle Company: Rival Stole Family Recipe to Create Brand for Whole Foods
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / Nataliia Shcherbyna)

Two pickle companies will battle it out in court after one accused the other of stealing its recipes. Grillo's Pickles, founded by Travis Grillo in Boston in 2008 using his grandfather's pickle recipe, started partnering in 2012 with Patriot Pickle, which had been supplying pickles to restaurants and grocery stores since 2004. Grillo's provided its recipes to Patriot, which manufactured, packaged, labeled, and shipped the pickles, the Washington Post reports. The partnership was terminated by Grillo's in 2021, and, according to the lawsuit filed by Grillo's, Patriot did not return all the copies of the Grillo's pickle recipe in its possession. Then, this year, Patriot Pickle started selling pickles under a Whole Foods 365 label that, according to the lawsuit, are suspiciously similar to Grillo's Pickles—and cost less, Boston.com reports.

"It's a massive violation of trust and a disappointment that after nearly a decade of partnership, our former co-packer, Patriot Pickle, has violated our [non-disclosure] agreements and is producing a nearly identical line of pickles for one of our biggest retailers, threatening to permanently damage our business," Grillo's president says in a statement. Grillo's says the Whole Foods-branded pickles are made using Grillo's 100-year-old proprietary recipe and have the same ingredients and nearly identical nutritional facts. The lawsuit asks for Patriot to remove any pickles made using that recipe from restaurants and stores, and to return or destroy any copies it has of Grillo's recipe. In a separate ongoing lawsuit, Grillo's sued Patriot Pickle along with burger chain Wahlburgers, accusing them of serving pickles that are almost identical in taste to Grillo's pickles but mislabeling them as "all-natural" when they're not. (More pickle stories.)

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