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Weiner War: Kraft, Sara Lee Battle Over Hot Dogs

DAVID GREENE, Host:

Maybe the best way to describe this is a frank disagreement.

NPR: Oscar Mayer and Ball Park. They're facing off in federal court in Chicago over false advertising claims. From a hot dog stand Chicago's Lincoln Square, NPR's Sonari Glinton has the story.

SONARI GLINTON: Two Chicago dogs, everything, no tomatoes.

Unidentified Man: Okay.

GLINTON: We've got two hot dogs and two multinational conglomerates. Sara Lee owns Ball Park. Kraft owns Oscar Mayer. Sara Lee alleges that a Kraft ad campaign falsely claims it won a national taste test. Sara Lee says there were flaws in the way the tests were conducted. And Kraft alleges that Sara Lee ran false and deceptive ads claiming to be America's best franks.

ERIN LASH: We're dealing with a very competitive space.

GLINTON: Erin Lash is an analyst with Morning Star. She says having the best dog doesn't mean you're the top dog.

LASH: Retail meats, in particular, can be a category where consumers tend to consider price rather than brand when making purchase decisions.

GLINTON: Regardless, Lash says winning is important.

LASH: Especially right now, as consumers are maintaining a tight grip on their discretionary dollars.

GLINTON: Don't think that Kraft and Sara Lee aren't taking this fight seriously. The Chicago area-based companies filed thousands of pages of legal documents. The judge in the case is expected to hear, not taste the evidence later this week. Too bad for him.

Sonari Glinton NPR, News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sonari Glinton is a NPR Business Desk Correspondent based at our NPR West bureau. He covers the auto industry, consumer goods, and consumer behavior, as well as marketing and advertising for NPR and Planet Money.