Brown sauce could soon be at the centre of a legal wrangle between rival producers following the decision to close the iconic HP factory in Birmingham.
Premier Foods is "taking advice from lawyers" over Heinz's use of the Houses of Parliament image on its famous HP Sauce bottles, it announced today.
The company, which makes Branston's version of the quintessentially British condiment, is considering legal action after Heinz decided to move production of the HP brand out of the UK.
It was announced last week that Birmingham-made sauce, with its distinctive London landmark label, will be made in Holland from next year as part of a plan to save #25 million.
But the decision to move production of HP Sauce from its factory in Aston, with the loss of 120 jobs, to its European sauces centre, in Elst, sparked a furious response from unions and local politicians.
Sue Knight, general manager for Branston at Premier Foods, said they were now considering using the Parliament image on their product.
"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," she said.
"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 picture of a windmill or a vase of sunflowers."
Heinz UK and Ireland director of corporate affairs Nigel Dickie retorted: "This is a desperate attempt to gain publicity for a brand that since its launch has mustered less than one per cent share.
"HP is the undisputed number one brown sauce. The Houses of Parliament has been a distinctive feature of the HP Sauce label for over 100 years. This picture represents the historic usage of HP Sauce in the restaurant at the Houses of Parliament."