Why Did Target Drop Hampton Creek Products?

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The food startup Hampton Creek has been plagued with scandal recently. In mid-August, Target Corp. offered some insight to why it no longer sells the company’s products.

The company pulled Hampton Creek’s products in June after receiving “specific and serious food safety allegations about Hampton Creek products.”

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had said that it has “no safety concerns with Hampton Creek at this time,” Target decided to reassess carrying the company’s products. 

“Although the FDA is not pursuing this further, we used the opportunity to review our portfolio, as we regularly do, and decided to reconsider our relationship with Hampton Creek,” wrote Jenna Reck, a spokeswoman for Target in an email in August. “We are not planning to bring Hampton Creek products back to Target and have openly communicated our decision with the Hampton Creek team.” 

Target did not explicitly point out which of the past scandals may have influenced the retail chain to drop Hampton Creek’s products, but said there were multiple reasons to “Bloomberg.”

“There were multiple reasons we terminated our relationship with Hampton Creek and all of the reasons were clearly communicated to Hampton Creek,” said Reck on the phone with “Bloomberg.” 

In early August, Hampton released a statement saying the FDA had determined that their products are safe. 

“Target informed us that sharing– with the public the FDA’s conclusion that our products are safe violated Target’s vendor communication guidelines,” wrote Andrew Noyes, a spokesman for Hampton Creek. 

Target’s decision is the latest blow to the food startup and it has been a tough year. By mid-July, five directors abruptly left the company’s board. 

Although statements were released claiming the directors left on an amicable note, there were allegations that the former directors had a deep discord with the co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick.   

“Ensuring our employees maintain their ability to direct our mission is as critical as the technologies we deploy and the products we launch,” said Tetrick in an email statement. “We will always protect this principle.” 

“We continue to fully support Hampton Creek and its CEO Josh in their exciting and important mission to change the food industry for the better of all people. We will advise Josh and the team on strategies across all areas of its business moving forward,” said a spokesman for the outgoing directors.

Read more about Hampton’s latest PR nightmare here.