Queso Controversy

I am such a huge fan of Food For Lovers Queso, I have blogged about it probably 10 times and have mentioned it on twitter, I don’t know, every day? Last year I voted it my favorite new vegan product. The queso makes everything taste better and it is a total obsession. I have never really liked any vegan cheese product but their queso is different, smooth, creamy, noochy, spicy and utterly delicious. I met the creators Chris and Crystal just this year, though I have “known” Crystal for many years from reading her blog Vegan Explosion, and from posting on the PPK and VRA. I have watched the entire process of them setting up their business, making amazing queso, and getting distribution slowly starting in Austin and moving throughout the world. They are always working hard to promote veganism, help animals, and improve the vegan community in Austin.

I remember waiting for the queso to hit the stores last summer. I would check every time I went to Wheatsville and at Whole Foods and one day I noticed a new locally made product, Nacho Mom’s Vegan Queso. I was really surprised because I hadn’t heard anything about another vegan queso, certainly not another one from Austin Texas so it seemed really strange. I also thought it was weird that her label was similar to the Food For Lover’s design with the heart and the banner. I mean, I wouldn’t think of hearts and queso usually go together normally, it only makes sense in the context of Chris & Crystal being so crazy in love.

Also, I had never heard of Nacho Mom and I follow the Austin vegan scene pretty closely. They were billing themselves as the “world famous vegan queso”. To me, the world famous one was obviously Chris and Crystals. People talk about it all the time.

Now, today I am completely disgusted. I read on Crystal and Chris’ facebook the whole story, with links and the timeline, that seems to prove that Nacho mom didn’t just copy their idea, they might have stolen the recipe to begin with and even might have actively tried to hold off production of Food For Lover’s product which made it second to the market place after the holdups.

According to them, Chris & Crystal met with Whole Foods on June 1, 2010. I even remember her excitedly posting about it because on the same day they launched the site and the label design. Whole Foods told them to get in contact with Gourmet Resources, a food manufacturer here in Austin and they met the owner Alex Weeks. They had to submit their recipe along with an NDA (non disclosure agreement) so they could determine the cost per bottle and create the recipe in larger quantities.  They all signed the NDA on June 8th, 2010.

After that they started testing the recipe and things got problematic. They said they would submit a recipe and then the batch would turn out badly because the manufacturer miscalculated something. They couldn’t figure out why things kept going wrong, and it seemed that Alex was avoiding them and after blowing a ton of money they switched to another manufacturing company at the end of July. They even had to get a lawyer “to request she send over all documents/recipes/formulas belonging to us.”

Then at the beginning of August they were told by their buyer that another company, Fat Goblin, had approached them with a new vegan queso.  So they started to research this new company. Here I am going to quote directly from FB what they found:

- FatGoblin.com was started on June 17th, 2010.

- The WHOIS Registry states FatGoblin.com, NachoMoms.com and VeganQueso.com is owned by “Chef Alana at 5416 Agatha Circle”:
http://veganexplosion.com/img/fb/fatgoblin-whois.jpg
(Source: http://who.godaddy.com/whois.aspx?domain=fatgoblin.com)

- Chef Alana’s full name is Alana Leigh Chandler. If you google Alana Chandler and Alex Weeks you will find this article about the home they own together:(Source: http://igreenbuild.com/cd_3156.aspx)

- Here is Alana:

(Source: http://www.magazine.tcu.edu/)

- And here is Alex and Alana together:

- You can see Alana talk about her partner Alex and her business here: (Source: http://www.olivia.com/Connect/forums/3/106750/ShowThread.aspx)

I don’t know what fat goblin could possibly say in their defense, I hope they speak up. The thing is, Crystal posted every single bit of her whole experience of creating the company on the internet. It is all right there on twitter for anyone to see. For years I have watched as she came up with the recipe, when it became so freaking popular, when they started selling it at Bouldin Creek, to when they had that meeting with Whole Foods. They have worked so hard to make such an amazing product.

It is such an outrage that anyone might do this to them If it turns out that the story is true I hope that Whole Foods, Wheatsville, Food Fight, Vegan Essentials, and all the people who sell a product from such a shady company will have the integrity to stop carrying it. [Ed cause Food Fight already stopped carrying it!]

My first reaction was that I wanted to break every jar of Nacho Mama’s that I see.

Then I got worried that I would get kicked out of the co-op so instead I am just going to write some letters and buy some queso.

I hope that you will too.

If you want to support Chris and Crystal buy some queso for the holidays. They have a gift pack with adorable ornaments and queso cozies. And if you live in South Austin, like me they carry it at the Live Oak market now, thank goodness.

Update 12-21-2011 If you want to read the other side of the story, Nacho Mom writes a lot in the comments below. I am closed the comments now because I feel like everyone has had a chance to say what they want to and it is tough to moderate on vacation.

77 thoughts on “Queso Controversy

  1. Bess @ I Dream of Greenie

    I’m so glad you posted about this… I learned about this today when my friend shared this on her FB page.

    I’ve always been a fan of Food for Lovers and will continue to support them!! Def keep us posted if you hear any updates.

  2. gpope

    This is THE WORST. I wish it were not real, because someone screwing over Chris and Crystal is pretty much the most callous thing I can imagine. Thanks for posting about it.

  3. Chad Miller

    We (Food Fight) stopped carrying Nacho Mom’s a long time ago when this was still a hush-hush story. Been telling everybody “it just didn’t sell” for so long, I’m glad this is now a public story.

    1. lazysmurf Post author

      Chad that is so good to know! I did a search of it and saw you all on there, it must have been an old page. You guys are awesome!

  4. simplybecause81

    Wow, I too followed the beginnings of Food for Lovers on the ppk. I had no idea that this happened to them! This is such a horrible thing for a start up business to have to deal with and go through. I’m going to check to see if my co-op carries either and make sure they carry the more legit one as well.

  5. bunniee

    If Wheatsville is going to continue carrying Nacho Mom’s queso, they should at least put the Food for Lovers queso on the same shelf, rather than with the hummus & other spreads.

  6. Amanda

    Thanks for posting this! I’ll never buy another jar of NachoMom’s queso. I bought it when it first came out and thought it sucked. Just one more reason not to buy it again.

  7. Nacho Mom

    I developed my queso months before Food For Lovers came in to develop theirs. Their recipe is available from their blog on the internet so it would be impossible to “steal” since it’s public domain still to this day and has mustard in it, no paprika, etc. The only similarity is the nooch, but if you look at my ingredients they aren’t even close to theirs.

    I have contacted a lawyer and am suing them for libel.

  8. savethekales

    1) UGH, YUCK, WOW. I’m so disheartened. 2) Was the Food Production company “in” on something with Fat Goblin? Was it just bad circumstances, or do you think the two companies were working together? (Your article may explain, maybe I just misunderstood something…)

    I know in a world of vegan cooking blogs, cookbooks, etc… people’s recipes are bound to seem very similar at times. But blatant rip-off? Not cool. At all. Thanks for telling us how we can support Food for Lovers. <3

  9. mollyjade

    I’m less concerned about a possibly stolen recipe (there are a lot of nooch sauces out there) than I am about possible inappropriate behavior at the manufacturer due to a conflict of interest.

  10. josh

    That’s a weird defense. You didn’t steal their recipe because it was posted on the internet and is therefore fair game for you to use. But your recipe isn’t like theirs anyway, so you didn’t steal it? Which is it? Why did you refer to their recipe as public domain if you didn’t use what they posted?

    1. Nacho Mom

      MY recipe is nowhere CLOSE to their recipe. Yes theirs is public domain but mine isn’t even a fraction of being close. I posted the link to their recipe on my website and their mention of it being public 3 years ago http://www.fatgoblin.com. Make this and taste my queso and YOU decide.

      The reason I mentioned it’s public domain is because it shakes down the whole conspiracy theory.

      Decide for yourself. Does my recipe taste like it has cumin or margarine?

      Have it tested scientifically. I’ll publicly state right here if my recipe is their recipe I’ll pay you for the lab test.

      They had their labels printed 6 mos after me and I can prove that as well as I developed my recipe before them. They didn’t even apply for their business license until 6 months after I had mine.

      Just because there are only 2 copackers in Austin they chose to believe my queso is that recipe. Make it. You be the judge. All copackers here make multiple brands of quesos and salsas but none, I am sure, are alike

      This is why it’s libel. My recipe (and I will prove how it was developed and where I got the idea) is nowhere close

      I don’t need to convince–I have an

      When Vegansaurus offered to judge the quesos and ONLY say positive things. I said go ahead and give Nacheez and Food For Lovers the press–I will never try to win against other vegan companies. I said write about them. Check it! But in I don’t ever want to squelch the growth of any vegan company (see this in comments under the test)

      Was mine in process as they came in for their meeting? Yep. Is this their recipe? Obviously not. They are well aware it’s nothing close. In fact they have publicly said mine tastes “too tomatoey” for them to like it

      It’s sad to resort to this because I’m in twice as many stores. (Most of theirs are “coming soon” on their website) but I will prove all I say true and this site alone shows damages…

  11. Donna B!

    Business can get ugly… not a good thing in the vegan community especially. Let’s support Chris and Crystal… Have spoken with Chris recently and he seems like an enthusiastic professional who is bringing a good vegan product to market. I don’t like to see these type of issues arise but glad that we are speaking out for a just solution.

  12. Erika

    Yeah, that defense doesn’t really work for me, either, Nacho Mom. If you didn’t steal the recipe which was supposedly on their website for all to see, then Alex clearly should have recognized Chris & Crystal’s initial contact with her as a conflict of interests and bowed out. There’s this thing vegans have, called ethics. They apply to both human and non-human animals.

    1. Nacho Mom

      There is no conflict of interest. All copackers make a variety of brands—loads of quesos, salsas, barbecue sauces…
      The conflict would be me using their recipe. Or seeing it. I didn’t.

      I’ll have my say…watch.

      I’m not just saying that. I have mega proof.

      Im not backing down. I don’t play dirty but I sure as hell won’t allow this.

  13. Super Duper Vegan

    Nacho Mom, you need to shut your hole. Your going to sue LazySmurf for writing this. Give me a break. Have you nothing better to do? The finger points at you. Whether you admit it or not, Food for Lovers Queso came out first, it tastes better and was created and is managed by a better couple. Face it and move along. By the way, I tried your queso once at Kerbey Lane, a friend ordered it. So not impressed. My toddler could make a better tasting queso.

    1. Nacho Mom

      Check your facts. Nacho Mims launched 6 or 7 months on store shelves prior to Food For Lovers. Because I already had my insurance and license prior to their development.

      You can be angry at me but all I can say is… Watch what happens. I can prove it.

  14. Pingback: Queso taste test: Food for Lovers, Nacho Mom’s, and Nacheez

  15. Megan

    Nacho Mom – you are not helping your case or making vegans want to support you by saying nasty things about FFL. You are making yourself look worse. Just FYI.

    1. Nacho Mom

      Its the only reason I can think for them doing this but you are totally right. I’m sorry. I said that in defense as this has taken my day and hurt what I live most–my company. I retract that. Just because they do this does not give me the right to not take the high road. I’ll respond to them only from here. I just wanted y’all to know the truth.

  16. Erika

    Yes, many co-packers make a variety of brands without it necessarily being a conflict of interest. The conflict of interest comes when the representative of a co-packer or their proxy (such as a partner) then goes into business themselves making that product, ostensibly for a profit. That’s sketchy as hell.

    Let us know how that lawyer thing goes.

  17. Super Duper Vegan

    Are you “Nacho Moms” or “Nacho Mims”? Pretty sad, when you can’t even type your own brand name correctly But, I’m sure you will come up with some excuse as to why you did that as well. Run along now.

  18. Erika

    Again, you fail to address how Nacho Moms’ alleged 6-8 jump on FFL did not create a conflict of interest for your partner Alex when she was first approached by the Tates.

  19. GHAllison

    Nacho Mom’s and FFL’s recipes are completely different. Have you all tasted both? I have. They are absolutely nothing alike. They do not resemble one another in flavor, texture, or consistency. I cannot speak to the rest of the “controversy” but I can say uncategorically that the two products are as distinct as they can possibly be.

  20. Erik

    @Nacho mom’s, how can you and your partner possibly in good faith try to develop someone else’s recipe, fail to do so and then release your own. This is beyond unethical.

  21. Paul Schenck

    As I read the post and all the comments, it struck me as very strange that, in this “he-said-she-said” situation, every single commenter is totally believing and supporting the same side. Why does no one support Nacho Mom, whose side of things seems quite plausible to me. Are all the commenters either friends, or friends of friends, of Chris and Crystal? Just wondering.

  22. Unaffected Party

    I doubt Food for Lovers has anything to worry about in regards to being found guilty.

    From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation#Libel):
    How to prove libel

    There are several ways a person must go about proving that libel has taken place. For example, in the United States, the person first must prove that the statement was false. Second, that person must prove that the statement caused harm. And, third, they must prove that the statement was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement. These steps are for an ordinary citizen. In the case of a celebrity or public official trying to prove libel, they must prove the first three steps, and must (in the United States) prove the statement was made with the intent to do harm, or with reckless disregard for the truth. Usually specifically referred to as “proving malice”.[17]

    At no point did F4L state that their recipe was copied or that NM performed intentional harm against them. They simply listed a series of facts. None of those facts have been refuted (although other facts that were not included in the post were).

    Providing a list of dates at which things happened and providing links to documentation that demonstrate a relationship between two people is so far from libel, it’s pretty laughable.

    BTW, if this does ever get in front of a judge, the judge has the right to award F4L damages and lawyer fees for being sued frivolously, however this will probably just result in a lot of expenses for them, which is sad.

  23. lazysmurf Post author

    I have to disagree about FFL recipe already being on the web. An early version is but the recipe has been changed a lot since the one posted. It used to be less spicy, more tomatoey and it wasn’t nearly as creamy as it is now. I know cause I used to make the recipe but ever since the queso came out I don’t ever make it any more.

    It is true that the final products are not the same.

    But they could have started the same. That is the whole part that seems so curious to me, the timeline. The fact that just weeks after FFL struggles with Alex Weeks Fat Goblin and Nacho Mama’s were registered. And the similarity with the label design seems very suspect as well. 

  24. Nacho Mom

    I am not great at typing on my iphone.
    And everything I say will be proven true so I have zero problem with what I write, I swear to you.

    I know you guys are mad. I would be too…but give me time. I promise you’ll see what I am saying is the truth. I know you have no way of knowing. So that’s all I can say. Imagine someone saying something about your child that you know is untrue and hurts him or her…this is me right now. Had Food For Lovers simply written me or called me I would have been more than happy to tell them my story and put them at ease. Why this worked better…I don’t know…

    I will not play dirty. Sorry for the typos.

  25. Nacho Mom

    LazySmurf…I appreciate that…but on the Austin vegan site they mention getting their labels made in November or December. Mine had already been out since the summer. I NEVER saw the heart on any label as mine were out first. Does that mean they copied mine? No…because a heart seems logical for their brand. I had a heart on mine to look like a “Mom” tattoo. It was designed to be edgy like a tattoo if you look at it. I actually have every email to my graphic designer with tattoo pictures as he developed it. It started out with tortilla chips but you couldn’t tell what it was.

    Sorry…I just feel like I have to answer that.

  26. Nacho Mom

    Kristen,
    No. I could have shown them proof personally. I swear to you I’d have taken them to lunch to ease their minds…I never felt us competitive. why this was done publicly only they can answer. My contact info is on my website. I never got one email. Not one call.

  27. josh

    I believe the issue is more about a stolen idea than about a recipe. I also believe the issue is of a glaring conflict of interest where one person was in charge of producing and testing a product for a client, when their partner was one of only two competitors to that product. At the very least they should have been up front about the fact that they stood to gain from their partner’s product having the upper hand in the marketplace.

  28. Nacho Mom

    I can prove their statements false. Simply by tasting my queso and showing how I developed it and where I got the idea and comparing it to their recipe.

    I’m not worried about proving it false. They have to prove it true and there is no way…it’s not.

  29. Nacho Mom

    I’m gonna let it go…I can’t handle it from here…but it’s like protecting my child…it’s hard not to.

  30. Unaffected Party

    The burden of proof is on you in the accuser (Nacho Mom).

    Again, the post never said that Nacho Mom stole the recipe. I realize some people elsewhere on the Internet have made that statement, but Food For Lovers did not.

  31. Nacho Mom

    No, Unaffected, I learned today that it’s libel unless they can prove it true.

    They can’t.

    It’s not.

  32. Nacho Mom

    Look at the story posted on this site. It says I copied their idea. I didn’t even know about it.
    I do see what was said and how it had legs on the internet…

  33. Skyballs

    Nacho Mom – I think you are misunderstanding what Unaffected is saying. You can’t accuse FFL of libel because they never explicitly accused you of stealing their recipe. They simply put out the timeline of events and let readers draw their own conclusions. Is their anything specifically in their initial post that is false? If so, which part? Otherwise, I don’t think you have much of a case.

  34. Kristen

    I’m not sure what you think they can’t prove true about their post. What I saw was a set of very basic facts and photos with no allegations. Please, indulge me.

    Glad you’re actually doing some research into what libel is/isn’t though. I’m sure you also know it is extremely difficult to prove libel and you’re pretty much doomed to fail.

  35. Skyballs

    Nacho – this post doesn’t say you copied their idea. It says you might have copied their idea. And, based on the evidence presented, it’s not totally unreasonable to think that you might have. I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think merely entertaining the possibility of something is the same as libel.

  36. josh

    You didn’t know about their idea? Your partner was in a contract with these other people and making test batches of their vegan queso, you were supposedly also developing your own vegan queso but your partner never mentioned this other product to you? That is hard to imagine.

  37. Paul Schenck

    I don’t know how the legal stuff will play out, but I do believe that FFL took the moral low road by insinutating that Nacho Mom’s stole their idea or their recipe. I base this opinion on everything I have read about it, and I don’t understand why so few commenters are willing to believe Nacho’s side of things, which seems at least slightly more convincing to me.

  38. Megan

    “Food for Lovers has retracted this from their Facebook page.

    So….

    You decide.”

    Isn’t that because you threatened them with legal action? You have been saying you’re going to sue them, after all…

  39. Lisa G.

    I love Food For Lovers – I always pick up a few bottles every time I am in Whole Foods. At first, I was outraged by the notion that someone would steal their product idea. However, after reading all the comments, I feel bad for jumping to the conclusion that Nacho Mom’s stole the idea. I don’t have all the facts. And neither do all of you. While I admit that there were some questionable events leading up to all of this, ultimately the truth will come out. Until then, I think that ganging up on Nacho Mom’s before all the facts present themselves is kind of crappy.

  40. kittee

    Hello!
    I think fans of the CTATES should probably stop commenting on this publicly and let the attorneys handle it from here on out.

    xo
    kittee

  41. Marie

    I just want to chime in and say that I am saddened and disappointed about this post and all of the mean commentary from readers who are so willing to attack someone else without getting both sides of the story. To accuse someone of intellectual theft and report it as such, without getting their side of the story seems completely unfair (and unreliable) to me. And the fact that Nacho Moms is responding from a defensive posture at this point, is not at all surprising. Alana Chandler must be devastated by this attempt to damage her reputation, her business, and her livelihood, and I am surprised that caring members of the vegan community would support this, without doing a little research on their own.

    I have enjoyed both products. Other than the fact that they are both made with nutritional yeast, I find them as different as they could possibly be (given that there’s only so much you can do with a recipe that has nutritional yeast as it’s predominant ingredient.) There are dozens of vegan burgers, milks, and ice creams out there, and personally, I’m delighted that we have so many choices.

    I don’t know the whole story of what went on behind the scenes here, and right now I am reading only one side of it. In this post there is much written according to Chris and Crystal, and you wrote, “I don’t know what fat goblin could possibly say in their defense, I hope they speak up.” On that note, I wish you would have reached out to Alana for her side before running with your own story. I don’t know Chris, Crystal, or Alana personally, but I rarely have faith in very one-sided accounts of what sounds like a complex story.

  42. Mitch Harding

    I agree with the commenters who have noted that we don’t really have enough information to know for sure what happened and who, if anyone, is in the wrong. It does seem to me that most people, including Nacho Mom, seem very fixated on the possibility of label/recipe plagiarism. When I read the post, I was most upset at the idea that Alex Weeks wouldn’t immediately reveal the potential conflict of interest to C&C. Assuming that Nacho Mom’s vegan queso had already been conceived by June 2010 (and according to Nacho Mom, this seems to be the case), and assuming that Alex Weeks knew about it (which seems likely, given her relationship with Nacho Mom), then it seems like the ethical thing to do would have been to inform C&C about this. I don’t know the law well enough to know if there is a legal requirement to do so, but it does seem like the decent thing to do under the circumstances.

    1. Nacho Mom

      Alex Weeks had the option of telling them No, or telling them their queso was bad, telling them anything to stop them from making it…

      You know what happened, y’all? She told them it was great and tried to help them launch it. She even gave them private access to the kitchen to work on it on their own when they asked to so they didn’t have charges for the staff doing it. Guess what? The fee she charged to develop this was TEN PERCENT of what she normally charges. Not 10 percent less, ten percent of the contract price. This will also be proven. Why? They said they were young and a new company and she liked their product and wanted to help them. For reals.

      Was this printed? No. If I am lying about the above to make them look bad it’s libel. I can type that without ever fearing retraction because it’s 100% provable true.

      If that’s a conflict of interest knowing I had a different one coming out in one month already developed, I can’t imagine why…Seems to me it proves just the opposite. It can’t be assumed that because she bottles for a living she shouldn’t help them…I think a good copacker does just the opposite. And did. Alex, incidentally, is vegetarian. (We are working on the vegan thing, y’all.)

      The new copacker that makes FFL queso has the same product that they produce for other customers they copack for. (Different ingredients same item.) Alex has loads of brands of the same thing. Salsas, quesos, barbecue sacues blah blah blah… This is the only way the food business can work. If a bottler could only bottle one sauce, they wouldn’t be in business. Am I hands on for my own? Yep. It’s my baby.

      Please, those of you who think this is a conflict call ANY copacker. Many specialize in just one item and all different brands (all hot sauces etc.) while also bottling their OWN. I don’t know of any copacker who doesn’t.

      I can guarantee you they don’t cuts costs like Alex did to help them.

      Choices make veganism/vegetarianism grow.

      It was never even thought of once as competition. There are far too many grocery stores and regular quesos for that.

    2. Mitch Harding

      Nacho Mom — I wasn’t saying Alex had to refuse their business. I am saying she should have given full disclosure that her partner was also developing and marketing a very similar product. It would then have been up to FFL if they still wanted to do business with Alex or go elsewhere.

  43. veganbaby

    It just seems like untimely coincidence to me. It seems as though both parties were working on getting their vegan queso out for production at roughly around the same time. I’m sure Nacho Mom ran into the same snags as Food For Lovers. Granted, it may have been easier because she is in close proximity with one of the developers.

    And if Ms. Weeks signed a NDA agreement then it makes sense that she didn’t tell her partner.

    Nachomom, how long did it take for your product to get developed?

    I hope that both parties can come to a resolution. It seems like a lot of misunderstandings and assumptions. Timeline really doesn’t say anything because we don’t know Nacho Mom’s timeline. And it is very likely that they came up with the idea at the same time. As vegans with little options out there, we shouldn’t see each other as competition. Just be happy that there are two more vegan options out there!

    1. Mitch Harding

      veganbaby — I agree that it would make sense for Ms. Weeks not to disclose the information to her partner, given the NDA. But it seems like she should have disclosed her potential conflict of interest to FFL — namely that her partner was also in the process of creating/marketing a vegan queso. That’s something a prospective client would want to know, it seems.

      But I do agree that we’re working with incomplete information here, so it’s mostly speculation.

  44. supercarrot

    removing a post due to potentially being sued doesn’t mean they’ve retracted the statement. retracting a statement means they make a new post saying “i’ve retracted my statement”

    i also completely agree that the flavors and textures of the two quesos are completely different, so your recipes are nothing alike, but it was unethical for your partner to accept a competing product and continuously mess up batches so you’d get a leg up in the competition by getting out there first.

    i really like the flavor and texture of your ultimate queso (the other ones i’m not a fan of.) i’m a northerner, so the similarity of your ultimate queso to tostitos’ cheese dip is a positive for me. so it pains me to learn of the controversy.

    whether or not you were inspired by them is irrelevant. the dishonesty of your partner, and the resulting sabotage is the main issue here. hopefully alex will learn from this and will turn away any potential competing food companies now that she knows she can’t be trusted to keep her work life and personal life separate.

  45. Lori

    Just because someone posts something or publishes it in a magazine or whatever, whether it’s a recipe or a poem, or a story, or a picture DOESN”T MAKE IT PUBLIC DOMAIN. Idiots. And you don’t have to apply for a copyright or a patent in order to retain ownership of said item/publication. Sheesh.

  46. jojo

    standard for Whole Foods…i don’t know why people do business with them…this stuff is happening all over the country!

  47. Nacho Mom

    When I said, above “Was this printed?

    I meant oddly these things were left out of the post by Food For Lovers.

    If I printed something true someone could threaten me with anything and I’d not erase it. I’d countersue for the statements saying otherwise and saying I was lying and asked my attorney’s fees be paid.

    That’s just me.

  48. Cheryl Russell

    I am not vegan…But I am familiar with the very beginning of the FFL Queso. I have been friends Chris & Crystal for over 4 years. I spent time with them in Austin when I brought Betsey to them. I remember vividly the work Crystal put in to developing the Queso. The search for a commercial kitchen when she was baking bake goods to sell to area restaurants. She is one of the most carrying, loving,sincere, compassionate people I have ever met.She put her heart & soul into every batch of the Queso. It comes from her love of her childhood foods, from her Hispanic culture. It is the lowest of lows to steal someone else’s passion, hardwork . If you have the passion for food & for your vegan belief’s as Chris & Crystal have…come up with your own ideas and make your mark…Dont steal someone else’s dream

  49. Nacho Mom

    I should correct myself to be fair. When I said mine was coming out in a month already developed, my main recipe was developed but it wasn’t wrapped up yet, meaning my ph level was still too high.

    I”m not going to try to trump them in any way that might be construed as sided to me even if it winds up looking better worded that way.

    I don’t play that.

    And Cheryl.
    I didn’t. No more than the 100 barbecue sauces on the shelf stold the other’s dream. They all have a dream. They all developed their own recipes. And with 300 million people out there, they all have someone to eat them. Someone posting something untrue to hurt the other…that’s stealing a dream…someone working side by side along a vegan company without doing so…that’s creating choices for veganism and dreamS. I see it differently. I’m sorry.

  50. Jes

    I’m saddened to see controversy like this at any time and I hope the truth, whatever it is, is the one that comes out in the end. I, for one, really hope my jar of Food for Lovers Queso comes soon–need that stockin’ stuffer (plus I want to try it out, so stoked!)

  51. Nacho Mom

    Also the part about Alex making a batch wrong. She never made a batch of their queso. They were still in development… They never even got to that part of the product development, batch making. Much less poor batch making.

  52. Britty Hamby

    This whole post is upsetting. As a vegan, I’m glad I have more to choose from. Eventually, stores will have the shelf-space based on demand enough to carry two different (key word being different) vegan quesos. What is Salsa? What is a Chocolate Chip Cookie? One day, two similar vegan products will be able to sit snugly next to each other on grocery store shelves just like Duncan Hines Vanilla Frosting and Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting, which I’m sure are MORE similar than Nacho Mom’s and Food for Lovers….On one end, it is a comforting thing to know that the vegan community will hold dear those brave enough to develop and market a vegan product for the masses. This takes guts, and it’s WONDERFUL to have support. What is not wonderful is the backlash that ensues when someone else tries to do something similar….suddenly they’re accused of stealing an idea, stealing a dream. The marketplace is a FREE SPACE…one where you market yourself, build a name for yourself…and in the vegan world, it’s not easy to “cheat” your way to fame…You truly have to have a reeeaaally good product. And both of these businesses do. None of us are in the position to speculate ANY details about this “controversy.” And I hate to sound like an asshole…but businesses don’t make it to the top by whining about how someone else stole their idea….They just stand behind their products, market the shit out of themselves, and hope that people buy into the idea. In the end, both of these businesses will fail if the vegan community doesn’t learn how to be objective consumers about this issue. In fact, I think one might argue that this kind of business-bullying is exactly what so many people are angry about these days….isn’t it unfair how big businesses have their hands in so many pockets that they’re able to control consumers in so many other ways than simply marketing their own product? I would hate to think that my equally-good product were to fail because more vegans were friends with the owners of another similar product. Let your dollars do the talking, not your accusations. I think that’s what veganism’s all about……right? Or is it all just a popularity contest?

  53. Jacinda

    I always wondered who was first since they both always claimed they were first. I got a bad batch once at Whole Foods when I got a “2 for” deal and sent an email to Food for Lovers. Crystal wrote me back and sent me 2 new ones asap, even though her and Chris had a death in the family. She still made sure I was taken care of. I will never forget that and they have my full support because of this. I think they’re both different quesos but really someone claiming their first if they’re not, then that’s not cool. Plus stealing is not cool either. Thanks for making this post.

  54. Gourmet Resources

    I have been sitting silently reading what all of you have to say about the situation created by Chris and Crystal. Although I do have my attorney working on this, I feel you as consumers deserve the truth from the person who owns the manufacturing facility. In all my years of doing business with a variety of companies young and old, I have never seen anything as blatant as this in trying to destroy another young company and a seasoned company like mine who has only tried to help anyone who has walked through my door to the best of my ability. First, I would never, ever take someone’s hard work, i.e. recipe, and duplicate it for myself or anyone else. Not only is that against the non disclosure we sign, but it goes against everything I stand for all the way to my core. Non disclosure is simply that. I don’t discuss anyone’s business with anyone else, not even my partner. I produce like products for a variety of different companies and most of the salsas, bbq sauces, etc have the same ingredients, maybe different amounts of each ingredient or 1 additional ingredient, but each are unique in their own way.

    I have to address to all of you a few things that were posted on “reddit.com”. I could not believe the nastiest and outright lies of what was written about me without knowing the facts. Since the comments were told to this site by Crystal and Chris, it makes me think their integrity isn’t what I thought it was.

    I will address the, and the only thing I can call them, lies that were written and I will address each. After all, my integrity is at stake.

    When Chris and Crystal came to my facility and wanted me to produce their product for them, I knew they were passionate about their product but didn’t have a lot of money. So, instead of the usual $5,000 I charge to develop and produce a new product, I only charged them $1,000.

    1. Several batches were tossed because I used bad or expired ingredients.

    Absolutely not true. I am audited regularly by the FDA and cannot have expired or “bad” ingredients in my facility or I face fines. I used the recipe that was given to me by Chris and Crystal.

    2. Adding chemicals? My whole facility is an “all natural” facility. I don’t use chemicals of any kind in any foods I manufacture.

    3. They got fed up?? Not true. After we got started it was apparent to me that the recipe Chris and Crystal gave to me was not a finalized recipe. So, rather than me charging them more money, I offered to allow them to work in a smaller area of my production room so that they could get their recipe to a final recipe that would satisfy them before we moved forward. I thought I was helping them. I even paid one of my employees to be there with them to help. There were no demands from them, just the opposite. It was my offer.

    4. I never hid away from them or ignore their calls. I was always in my office when they came to work on their recipe. All they had to do was walk in if they wanted to talk to me.

    5. I don’t know where the $7 per jar came from, but I never once quoted them anywhere close that amount. When they came into my office the first time and asked what a jar would cost them, I explained that it would be impossible for me to answer that until we actually produce the test batch. Something I tell all my customers. Truth be told I quoted them $2.38/jar.

    I am not one to call a lawyer at the drop of a hat, but Chis and Crystal have brought this on and I cannot allow me or my business to be damaged when I have done nothing wrong. I would hope that all of you will try to understand that things are not always as they seem.

  55. veganbaby

    It just shows that there are two sides of the story. I really hope that the two parties can come to see past this.

  56. Nacho Mom

    As I continue to work non-stop to compile my paperwork to get rolling (lost time and wages? Heck yes.) I see I filed for my business license in June but launched in August (I thought it was July and I said that.) I said I’d always post everything TRUE so though it makes no difference I can think of other than to further show I didn’t take their recipe and just bottle it right off the bat and was still working on mine, I’m still going to correct myself either way.

    They filed for their license to do business the December after that according to public records.

    And the WHOLE truth matters.

    But it was poor journalism to print a story for a personal friend (yes they are) prior to getting both sides. One call or email to ask for my side would have sufficed….

    But that was not the point of this story…to report the facts. And the whole truth.

    So I will in all ways.

  57. Nacho Mom

    I also found on the internet that they launched in a few stores in October which I would never have guessed without a corporation filed yet and that’s public record. But I stand corrected in thinking it was January.

    And I cant wait so share what else I found.

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