BIRMINGHAM, UK: Premier Foods is seriously peeved that rival H J Heinz is shifting production of its iconic HP Sauce to the Netherlands while continuing to use the image of London's Houses of Parliament on packaging.

Premier, maker of archetypally British brands Branston Pickle and Ambrosia Custard, claims Heinz could be in breach of the nation's Trade Descriptions Act by moving manufacture of the esoteric UK delicacy to the land of windmills and tulips.

The company believes it now has a case for using the classic parliamentary logo on its own British-made brands and is mulling legal action.

Comments Sue Knight, general manager for Branston: "It's something we would consider now that HP seems to stand for 'Holland Produced' rather than 'Houses of Parliament'."

Ripostes HP spokesman Nigel Dickie: "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 and this picture represents the historic usage of HP Sauce in the restaurant at the Houses of Parliament."

He accuses Premier of a desperate attempt to gain publicity and adds: "[The] comments about images are nonsensical. Some Royal Mail stamps, which of course carry the Queen's image, are printed in Holland."

Heinz, which bought HP last year from the French Groupe Danone in a £470 million ($858.5m; €701m)deal [WAMN: 21-Jun-05], says it is closing the Midlands plant and axing 120 jobs to make savings of £25 million ($47.5m; €37m).

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff