LONDON - Australian spread brand Vegemite, owned by Cadbury suitor Kraft Foods, has changed the name of its new variant from the unpopular iSnack 2.0 to Vegemite Cheesybite.
Following a national backlash against the iSnack 2.0 name, which was chosen following a naming contest, Kraft turned to Australian consumers once again, polling 30,000 people to get a different name for its new product, a combination of Vegemite and cream cheese.
Of those polled, 36% voted for Cheesybite, 23% for Smooth, 20% for Vegemate, 8% for Snackmate, 7% for Vegemild and 6% for Creamymate.
Cheesybite jars will begin to replace iSnack 2.0 on shelves in the coming months.
The name "Cheesymite" was part of the poll but was pulled last week because it was already trademarked to another company, Kraft said.
However, it has emerged that Cheesybite is similar to a trademark owned by Pizza Hut.
Pizza Hut registered its Cheesy Bite trademark in March 2006 for one of its pizzas. Trademark experts said there could be grounds for a challenge against the Kraft name.
Simon Talbot, Kraft communications manager, said he had "a lot of confidence" in the company's legal team, which lodged the Cheesybite name as a trademark last Friday.
Talbot said the trademark was for Vegemite Cheesybite, which would sufficiently differentiate it from the Pizza Hut Cheesy Bite product.
Cadbury rejected the bid but is now waiting to see if Kraft will return with a formal bid before a Takeover Panel deadline of November 9.