The British Brands Group (BBG) has attacked a new campaign by the Consumers' Association (CA) to drive down the price of branded goods, following the publication of CA research which showed that basic products often cost twice as much in the UK as in the US.
The BBG, whose members include Mars and Coca-Cola, said the CA campaign was fundamentally flawed in its approach because it failed to take account of basic economic realities.
BBG director John Noble said it was retailers' responsibility to invest in the brands they sell, and backed the EU's Trademark Directive, which gives brand-owners control over imports of their goods.
'Prices are set by retailers, not brand manufacturers,' said Noble. 'Brand equity can be undermined if retailers don't invest in the brands they sell.'
But Sheila McKechnie, director of the CA, said: 'The European law is a smoke screen for price-fixing, as it allows brand-owners to charge UK consumers high prices.'