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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Rival turns up heat on HP Sauce
HP sauce
Use of the Houses of Parliament image could spark a legal battle
Heinz faces legal action to stop it using the Houses of Parliament label on HP Sauce bottles after it said it would stop making the sauce in the UK.

Workers at the HP Sauce plant in Aston, Birmingham, were told last Wednesday of the final decision to move production to the Netherlands.

Premier Foods believes Heinz should not be allowed to continue using such an iconic British building.

Heinz has dismissed the threat of legal action as a "publicity stunt".

Sue Knight, general manager for Branston at Premier Foods, said: "The advice we're getting from lawyers is that if HP continues to use the Houses of Parliament image... there may well be grounds for action under the Trades Description Act.

HP seems to stand for 'Holland Produced' rather than 'Houses of Parliament'
Sue Knight, Premier Foods

"A lot of people are urging us to put the Houses of Parliament design on our bottles.

"It's something we would consider now that HP seems to stand for 'Holland Produced' rather than 'Houses of Parliament'.

"As for HP, we think it would be much more appropriate if they replaced the Houses of Parliament with a lovely picture of a windmill, or maybe a vase of sunflowers," said Ms Knight.

Heinz has faced a furious reaction in Birmingham from workers, union leaders and MPs over its decision, which will cost 120 jobs when the plant closes next March.

There have been calls for a boycott of Heinz products and demands that the Parliament image is removed from HP Sauce labels.

'Desperate attempt'

Heinz said its announcement marked "a sad day for Birmingham" but that the company had to save 25m.

Reacting to the threat of legal action, Nigel Dickie of Heinz UK and Ireland, said: "This is a rather desperate attempt to gain publicity for a brand that since its launch in October last year has mustered less than 1% share.

"This picture (Parliament) represents the historic usage of HP Sauce in the restaurant at the Houses of Parliament."

He added: "It will be made clear on the label that the sauce is manufactured in the Netherlands.

"Branston's comments about images are nonsensical. Some Royal Mail stamps, which of course carry the Queen's image, are printed in Holland."

Staff told of HP factory closure
23 Aug 06 |  West Midlands
Unions hopeful of HP Sauce rescue
24 Jul 06 |  West Midlands
Dutch support HP Sauce campaign
13 Jul 06 |  West Midlands
Protest to save HP sauce factory
03 Jun 06 |  West Midlands
HP protests taken to US embassy
24 May 06 |  West Midlands
Companies urge 'save our sauce'
15 May 06 |  West Midlands

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