When people think of counterfeiting, they usually think of designer handbags, apparel and fashion accessories. However, fakes, copycats and counterfeits are much more far reaching than just the fashion industry. Unfortunately, counterfeit items can extend to products meant for human ingestion, including tobacco, pharmaceuticals, and even confectionery.
Just last month, Trading Standards conducted a raid on Oxford Street shops that sell American candy. The raids came on the back of news that American style sweet shops in the area are being investigated for failing to pay £7.9m in business rates. They were found to be selling “Wonka Bars”, a popular chocolate bar made famous by the Charlie and the Chocolate factory franchise. Perhaps bolstered by the surging popularity of Johnny Depp movies after his recent controversial court case with ex-wife Amber Heard, the bars that were confiscated were worth the staggering sum of £100,000. Depp famously depicted the eccentric Willy Wonka in the most recent adaptation of the beloved movie.
The dangers of consuming counterfeit chocolate cannot be understated. The chocolate has been produced under dubious circumstances, with no way to know for sure if they have been produced in line with food hygiene, labelling and traceability laws. Many of the confiscated bars were found to contain allergens that were not listed on the labelling.
Tina Potter, Head of incidents at the Food Standards agency said:
“…It is more important than ever that parents and grandparents are aware of the risks that these bogus chocolate bars could pose to their children, particularly those living with a food allergy or intolerance.”
She then continued on to say that anyone who has purchased one of these bars should not eat it, or give it to friends or family.
Consumers shopping on Oxford Street – one of London’s premier shopping spots – may very well have purchased the items having no idea that they may be fake. So how can you spot a fake? And what do you do if you think you may have purchased one?
- Check for trademarks on the packaging – many of the bars did not have the official Ferrero or Ferrara Candy company trademarks on the packaging
- Raise the issue with the retailer you bought it from
- Report the matter to your local authority or contact Trading Standards.
SnapDragon is a brand protection agency dedicated to fighting fakes. We work on behalf of our clients to find fake versions of their products online, and remove them using their intellectual property. Our multi-lingual team of talented brand analysts work tirelessly to protect brands’ reputations, revenues and customers from the dangers of online counterfeits. If you’d like more information about SnapDragon’s Brand Protection services, please get in touch. Our friendly but fierce team are ready to breathe fire to protect your brand online.