Stew over this: How much beef constitutes a stew? It's not such an esoteric question now that stew maker Hormel (NYSE:HRL) has a beef with Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) over its new line of soup ads. Seems one of its new flavors is "Chunky Fully Loaded Beef Stew," and Hormel says it's not beefy enough to be beef stew. The maker of Dinty Moore stews says Campbell's soups are a crock, and it's suing for false advertising.

The Department of Agriculture actually has guidelines about what constitutes "beef stew"; anywhere from half to two-thirds of the stew has to be beef. The rest must be potatoes, carrots, and peas.

While the Campbell's label does say "soup," Hormel says it's barely noticeable. The bold, black labels prominently feature the words "Campbell's Beef Stew" and show a bowl of it being eaten with a fork. Next to the bowl is the word soup.

The Andy Warhol inspiration isn't talking about the claims which have its rival stewing. Its ads say the new Fully Loaded line takes soup "to the next level" with "extreme amounts of meat." Whether that qualifies under the Ag Department's rules will be up to the courts, since Hormel wants a jury to decide this matter.

Maybe Hormel is feeling the heat because last quarter's results were a little lean compared to Smithfield Foods (NYSE:SFD) and Tyson (NYSE:TYS). Maybe it's just that too many cooks spoil the soup, since Campbell's quarterly earnings were also a little thin. Whatever it is, Sir Spam-a-Lot wants Campbell out of the kitchen.

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