The consumer survey – which covered more than 150 own-label products – revealed that a fifth of Which? members had accidentally bought a supermarket version of a product thinking it was a well-known brand. Of those shoppers who bought an own-label product by mistake, 38% said they were annoyed by this and 30% felt misled.
‘Feeling that they have been misled’
A Which? spokesperson said: “Own-brand products can provide good value and several have topped our tests to become Best Buys. Retailers should make sure that people are under no illusions about what they are buying and not leave so many consumers feeling they have been misled.”
An article in the latest Which? magazine stated: “We uncovered products in Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury and Tesco that appear to borrow from leading brands. Typically these were in categories where there are well-established and distinctive brands.”
Brand categories where own-label products appeared to mirror leading brands included crisps, biscuits and butter.
“Some brands – such as Lurpak – seem to have a recognisable own-label imitator in most major supermarkets,” said the report.
Copycat court cases
- Asda’s Puffin chocolate bars were ruled to be a copy of Penguin bars in a 1997 court case.
- Pimm’s brand owner Diageo started legal proceedings against Sainsbury in 2009 over its Pitchers drink, which closely resembled Pimm’s. The case was settled out of court.
- Cadbury trademarked a shade of purple for its Dairy Milk milk chocolate bars and drinking chocolate, after winning a legal dispute with Nestlé.