– Which? spokeswoman
Own-brand products can provide good value and several have topped our tests to become best buys.
But retailers 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.
Own-label products, which tend to be cheaper than brands, are becoming more popular among consumers struggling with tightened finances and rising food prices, according to Which.
Its survey on own-brand packaging found
- 18% of members had deliberately bought an own-label product because it resembled the branded equivalent.
- 60% of these shoppers doing so because it was cheaper and 59% wanting to see if it was as good.
- But consumers looked upon own-brand products less favourably when they were confused by the packaging, with 38% of those who bought such a product by mistake saying it annoyed them and 30% reporting that they felt misled.
– British Brands Group director John Noble
Our research shows that consumers are more likely to buy own-label products if they look like brands.
Brands survive by being distinctive and standing out, and retailers are free-riding on brands' reputations.
Currently in the UK there is little to stop a competitor packaging its product to look like a familiar brand, whether or not the product's performance is in any way similar.
That can't be good if we want a market in which shoppers can make informed decisions at speed.
Too many consumers are being misled by retailers into buying own-brand products because the packaging mimics well-known equivalents, consumer campaigners have said.
A fifth of Which? members said they had accidentally bought a supermarket version of a favourite brand at least once.
The consumer group found that more than 150 own-label products that it considered to have "borrowed" elements from the packaging of branded competitors.
These included Kellogg's Coco Pops, McVitie's Digestives, Simple cleanser and wipes, Jacob's Cream Crackers and Radox bath gel.