East Hampton’s Ina Garten, one of our very, very favorite foodies, is fed up with frozen food manufacturer OIF Imports. She filed a federal lawsuit in Manhattan against the maker of “Contessa Chef Inspired” meals on Tuesday for making and packaging products that are remarkably similar to her own line of Contessa Premium Brands food.
Apparently the “Contessa Chef Inspired” foods have the same packaging photos, product names, box art and font choices as Barefoot Contessa brand. The only things that appear to be different on the boxes, according to the suit, are minor hue alterations and the celebrity cook’s image has been replaced with a model in an apron.
“OFI has refused to stop, and that leaves no choice other than to pursue legal action that will protect the brand that I’ve built over the last 35 years,” Garten said, according to published reports. “The packaging for ‘Contessa Chef Inspired’ products blatantly seeks to trade on the enormous goodwill and prestige of the Barefoot Contessa brand.”
Further reports state that OFI bought Premium Foods last year, which had previously manufactured Garten-approved foods, but that the new manufacturer did not acquire licensing rights for the Barefoot Contessa brand.