Consumer watchdog, Which?, has criticised supermarkets for misleading packaging tactics that confuse consumers.
Which? highlighted major retailers are using packaging which feature misleading lists of ingredients and over-priced gift sets. Using Lynx as an example, it found that the gift set costing £6.50 contained a deodorant which normally costs £3 and a shower gel that’s £2.
The report also heavily criticised misleading ingredients. Food companies are promoting their most exotic or more expensive ingredients on their drinks, and not the main ingredients. The Innocent Kids Cherry & Strawberry Smoothies contains only 18% cherries and strawberries, and the main ingredients are apples and grapes – dramatically cheaper ingredients.
The Which? report went on to assess food labelling and highlighted some fatal flaws. The consumer watchdog found that some ‘light’ products contained more sugar than the standard product, therefore misleading consumers.
Many own-brand products are criticised in the report for borrowing their look and feel from well-known brands, which is said to confuse consumers into accidentally buying them. In a trial, Which? members were asked to identify branded biscuits against Lidl’s version, with 39% choosing the latter.
Michael Bennett, MD at specialist packaging communications agency Pelican Communications, said: “Supermarkets should clamp down on misleading packaging tactics as it confuses consumers, and gives the packaging industry a bad name. Brands that have invested millions of pounds in developing their visual identity deserve the respect of the retailers who benefit from their investment.”
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