Trader Joe’s Pretzels Make Maxim Marketing Thirsty

There is no doubt that Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter-filled Pretzels are a staple of the Monrovia, California-based retailer’s specialty snacks. Trader Joe’s has been carrying the pretzels for more than 25 years and counts them as one of the grocer’s most popular snack food items. In fact, the pretzels are so good that according to the LA Business Journal, legendary New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl said of the salty snacks, “you haven’t lived until you’ve tried the two [pretzel and peanut butter] together.”

While peanut butter and pretzels go together like, well, peanut butter and jelly, in the fall of 2013, Trader Joe’s cut out long-time supplier Maxim Marketing, instead of working directly with global conglomerate ConAgra Foods to manufacture the pretzels. Maxim claimed that they had “pioneered these items,” taking “something from nothing” and building it into Trader Joe’s “top-selling savory snack” by developing the technology to extrude the peanut butter into the pretzels from the ground up.

While Maxim may have pioneered the peanut butter technology, they are at a disadvantage in that they do not own any production facilities, instead relying on production in ConAgra’s factories. Now, Maxim has gone on the defensive, filing suits against both Trader Joe’s and ConAgra for cutting them out of the deal.

National Public Radio reports that ConAgra has responded to Maxim’s claims by calling the lawsuit, “baseless and built on false accusations.”

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