NOP survey proves own-label turmoil

Lawyers for Asda made a remarkable claim in court last week. Consumers, they said: ’are not interested in the source of a product. It is extremely unusual to find people who care about the make of a particular form of biscuit’.

Lawyers for Asda made a remarkable claim in court last week.

Consumers, they said: ’are not interested in the source of a product. It

is extremely unusual to find people who care about the make of a

particular form of biscuit’.



It is a claim that will shock many of those in the fast-moving consumer

goods sector who had believed, perhaps naively, that brands still had a

role to play on supermarket shelves, and that consumers do care rather a

lot about ’makes’.



Our own research, conducted for Marketing by National Opinion Polls,

shows a different picture. It is one in which many consumers believe

that if an own-label product looks like a premium brand, then it is

probably made by the same manufacturer.



In most cases, that’s a misapprehension, but it has to be said that some

branded manufacturers may have weakened their case by supplying

own-label next to their premium brands.



Nevertheless, we suggest that our research should spur brand owners to

greater efforts in protecting their investment. With 20% of the people

in our survey admitting to having bought an own-brand product by

mistake, consumers are clearly confused, and no one should be allowed to

capitalise on that confusion.



It has been said before but needs saying again: supermarket own-brands

rely on the investment of brand owners in research and development. They

piggy-back on the ideas of brand owners, too often borrowing their

clothes as well.



We would never condemn competition, but we do support fairness and we

don’t believe that blatant lookalikes are fair.



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