ST. LOUIS (AP) — Nestle Purina PetCare Co. filed suit Tuesday against Blue Buffalo Co. Ltd., accusing its competitor of misleading consumers about the ingredients in its dog and cat foods.
The lawsuit accuses Wilton, Connecticut-based Blue Buffalo of false advertising, disparagement and unjust enrichment. It was filed in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, where Purina is based.
Messages seeking comment from Blue Buffalo were not immediately returned.
The pet food industry in recent years has seen a trend toward premium foods, with consumers showing more willingness to spend more on food perceived to be better for their animals. Sales of more expensive brands rose 68 percent from 2002 to 2012, compared with 19 percent for mid-priced brands and 8 percent for economy brands, according to Euromonitor International.
Nestle Purina has been part of the trend, reporting solid growth in its high-end "made with natural ingredients" Beyond line.
Blue Buffalo advertises that its pet foods contain natural ingredients and do not contain chicken or poultry byproduct meals. The company also says the pet foods do not contain corn, wheat or soy — potential allergens for some pets.