Retail chain Woolworths recently got into trouble after it admitted that its baby carriers bore “striking similarities” to the Ubuntu Baba brand, removing their versions from the shelf and committing to donate the proceeds towards aiding the development of small businesses.
According to two people interviewed on 702 and Cape Talk’s The Money Show, however, Woolies has done the same thing to them.
Michelle Legge is the founder of Superlatte, which makes superfood and coffee blends.
According to her, the Woolies version is an almost exact copy, with the name “Super Lattes” rather than Superlatte.
Taleszia Raubenheimer, meanwhile, is the co-founder at Happy Earth People and says her lentil and chickpea alternatives to pasta have been copied by the retailers.
She adds that she tried to meet Woolies over this but they ignored her requests.
In response to Superlatte, Woolworths told The Citizen they “categorically deny the allegations that we copied this product”.
They added that they named their products in line with what similar products worldwide are called, with combinations of superfoods and lattes common internationally, according to the retailer.
As for Happy Earth People, Woolies says they only became aware of the company and its products in November 2018 and that their pasta supplier first presented the concept to them in 2015.
After the Ubuntu incident, Woolies met with company owner and founder Shannon McLaughlin, with the result being a commitment from the chain to put “into place additional measures to avoid a similar incident arising in the future”.
“Some examples of these enhanced measures include an Intellectual Property e-learning module to ensure [the] enterprise-wide reach of training, increasing intellectual property training to Woolworths employees and all relevant suppliers, and to explore additional systems functionality to support these measures,” a statement from the retailer said.
The retail chain also said they would “donate the baby carriers”, which had been removed from their shelves, “to parents in under-resourced communities”.
The retailer has been at the centre of similar accusations in the past.
In 2012, it was forced to take a range of vintage cold drinks off the shelves after it was ruled that the products were an imitation of Frankie’s soft drinks.
Then, in 2013, Woolworths was hit with another scandal when artist and designer Euodia Roets accused them of copying one of her designs.
UPDATE: Comment from Woolworths was added 12:51, February 13.