Own-label ‘copycat’ products confuse shoppers

An example of copycat own-brand packaging found by Which? magazine
An example of copycat own-brand packaging found by Which? magazine

Research by Which? magazine has uncovered over 150 own-brand imitation products on retailer's shelves



15 April 2013

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Consumer watchdog, Which? magazine, reports over a fifth of its members have bought an own-label product by mistake because it looked so much like a leading brand.

Of  the Which? members who reported this problem, 30% said they felt misled and 38% were annoyed. 

The magazine decided to hit the shops to track down own-label products that it thinks borrow elements of their packaging from branded competitors. Over 150 look-a-like items were found, and in some cases, Which? believed there was such a close resemblance that it could cause consumers to accidentally buy the own-label product without realising it.

The look-a-likes were found in Aldi, Asda, Boots, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Superdrug and Tesco. Typically, these were in categories where there are well-established and distinctive brands, such as crisps, biscuits, butter and toiletries.

The survey of Which? members also found that 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 spokesperson for the magazine 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."

To see a selection of the products Which? found, including own-label versions of Head & Shoulders shampoo, McVities chocolate digestives and Lurpak butter, click here to see its copycat products photo gallery.  



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