In an age where originality is the differentiator, what’s with the similar packaging?
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then ITC and Britannia are the two biggest fans of Bangladeshi food brand Pran’s Potata.
What is this object of flattery, you ask? It is a cross between a spicy potato wafer and a biscuit. Pran’s Potata is available in India’s eastern markets, due to their proximity to Bangladesh.
Such has been Pran’s success that it has finally compelled India’s two leading FMCG companies to roll out a similar product. But the chips and biscuit hybrid is not the only similarity we’ve spotted.
In June 2021, ITC launched All Rounder under its Sunfeast’s line of baked products. It was the first direct threat to Potata’s business in India. Last week, Britannia entered this hybrid category, with 5050 Potazos.
Take a glance at both of the new entrants’ product packaging and design, and you will struggle to tell them apart from Pran’s Potata.
The packaging of All Rounder and 5050 Potazos is predominantly red, with similar frayed edges. You can’t miss the similar stacking of the wafer, the half-peeled potato and herbs. Both packs are visually similar and there is a good chance a customer may mistake one for the other, or for Potata too.
It’s quite odd to see such similarities in the packaging of two brands, especially when they are trying to beat a common rival. At an age when originality is the differentiator, this move made us raise our eyebrows.
When we asked Neha Tulsian, founder and creative director of NH1 Design, she tells us that just like Cream Cracker biscuits is a category. So is Bourbon biscuits. Similarly, Potato biscuits have become a category. And, brands will compete for the market share.
“It makes complete business sense for ITC and Britannia to foray into this Potato biscuits category.”
She also says that it’s a mass market product, and the packaging design and personality cues that. “Apart from the red colour and the product shape being the same, the packaging design is not very similar. There are many red biscuit packs in the market.”
For Tulsian, the game here will be of “distribution and consumer reach.” She says that brands like ITC and Britannia are household names in India. However given that most “people have access to information today, most discerning customers will also look for what differentiates ITC or Britannia’s product from Pran’s.”
And speaking of similar packaging, last year, we reported Dabur taking Marico’s Saffola Honey to court for imitating' the bottle, trade dress, label and packaging of Dabur Honey.