British consumer group Which? says consumers being misled by retailers' 'copycat' packaging; over 150 own-label products similarly packaged to those of brand competitors
April 12, 2013
– A fifth of Which? members have bought an own-label product by mistake because it looked so much like a big brand, so Which? hit the shops to track down more than 150 own-label products that we think borrow elements of their packaging from branded competitors.
In some cases, we think there's such a close resemblance that it could cause consumers to accidentally buy the own-label product without realising it.
Of the fifth of Which? members who told us they'd had this problem, 30% felt misled and 38% were annoyed.
Have you spotted any own-label products that you think are too similar to well-known brands? Share them at Which? Conversation.
Lookalike products revealed
We uncovered products in Aldi, Asda, Boots, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Superdrug and Tesco that appear to borrow from leading brands. Typically, these were in categories where there are well-established and distinctive brands, such as crisps, biscuits, butter and toiletries.
The photo gallery below shows a selection of the products we found, including own-label versions of Head & Shoulders shampoo, McVities chocolate digestives and Lurpak butter.
Own-labels becoming more popular
Own-label products - which tend to be cheaper than brands - are becoming more enticing to consumers, and a similarity to a brand can be a reason to buy an own-label product - when we surveyed Which? members on lookalike packaging, 18% said they've deliberately bought an own-label product because it resembled a branded one.
Of those, 60% said they did so because the own-label was cheaper, while 59% wanted to try it to see if it was as good as the branded product.
A Which? spokesperson said: 'Own-brand products can provide good value and several have topped our tests to become Best Buys. But shops should make sure that people are under no illusions about what they are buying and not leave so many consumers feeling that they have been misled.'
Which? tests have uncovered several own-label Best Buys - see our taste test winners and washing-up liquid review for examples.