Brand owners call for end to “parasitic” packaging

A group representing leading brand owners has called for government action to stamp  out “parasitic” packaging by supermarkets.

The British Brands Group (BBG) says that the number of supermarket own label products packaged in a very similar way to familiar branded products is growing fast. The group says that the practice, which is banned in many countries is misleading British consumers.

This week BBG revealed the latest examples of products in packaging very similar to popular branded products, to demonstrate the extent of the practice. Gathered from store visits last year, the examples cover a range of products from shampoo to cheese

The release of this evidence coincides with the end of the consultation on the independent Intellectual Property (IP) review commissioned by Government. In its response, BBG calls for effective tools to stamp out similar packaging when it misleads shoppers.

Research in 2009 indicated that the more packaging looks like familiar brands, the more likely shoppers are to buy products by mistake and also to think the products all come from the same manufacturer. Shoppers expressed a definite preference for clear packaging which did not mislead.

In addition to “duping” consumers, says BBG, similar packaging “destroys distinctiveness which is crucial for branded products to stand out from the crowd”

• One leading natural products distributor and brand owner told NP the problem of parasitic  packaging was a growing one. A spokesperson said: “Supermarkets copy — steal — our brands, as soon as we show them to them. It’s part of the reality of modern retailing.”