Cracker Barrel reaches settlement with Kraft; Meats to hit store shelves soon

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. said today that the first shipments of its CB Old Country Store products will be shipping to retailers next week.

A company spokesperson said shoppers should see the items showing up on store shelves over the next several weeks, but said specific dates are not available.

The announcement follows months of litigation with retail conglomerate Kraft Foods, which had sued Cracker Barrel, saying the new products conflicted with its Cracker Barrel line of cheese, and would create confusion with consumers.

Kraft said it has sold cheese products branded "Cracker Barrel" in grocery stores for nearly 60 years, and that the Lebanon-based restaurant chain's planned move into grocery stores would unfairly infringe on that trademark.

As a part of a new agreement with Kraft, Cracker Barrel's new line, which is being produced in conjunction with John Morrell Food Group, will be called "CB Old Country Store" on store shelves.

Details of the agreement between Cracker Barrel and Kraft were not immediately available, and many of the documents were sealed by a federal judge. The two sides had appeared in court earlier this month in connection with Cracker Barrel's appeal of a judge's ruling that had placed an injunction against the restaurant company from selling in supermarkets and similar retail outlets.

Cracker Barrel spokeswoman Jeanne Ludington said the parties reached an agreement in mid-September on the use use of the new mark, 'CB Old Country Store' for licensed products in retail grocery. She said there were no financial considerations as part of the agreement.

"Extending our brand beyond our physical locations is an important component of our strategic plan," said Sandra Cochran, president and CEO of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. "We think the combination of strengths that our two companies consistently utilize to deliver high-quality products to our consumers will prove to be a success for our guests, retail shoppers, and our retail trading partners."

The products, under the CB Old Country Store brand, will include maple and smoked bacon, spiral ham and four types of lunch meat: oven roasted turkey, smoked turkey, smoked ham, and honey ham.

The restaurant company announced the move to launch on store shelves nearly a year ago, but the effort was stalled when Kraft filed suit in late January.

Cracker Barrel said that it does not expect the retail sales efforts to have a material impact on revenue for the 2014 fiscal year.


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