Sainsbury has been selling a range carrying the Freefrom name since 2001. It now boasts
60 products and this year won The Grocer Gold Award for best own label range development.
But now Tesco has exploited the fact the Sainsbury’s label is not protected by a trademark to launch an equivalent range for customers with intolerances to gluten, wheat or milk, albeit under the slightly different ‘Free From’ tag.
Launching this week into 500 stores, Tesco’s range covers 50 lines including soft bread, rolls and muffins at 99p a pack. Jeremy Lindley, head of packaging design at Tesco, said the range was the brainchild of customer Patricia Wheway who wrote to Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy to complain about the lack of suitable foods for her allergy-suffering child.
A spokeswoman for Sainsbury said it could not prevent Tesco from using the name Free From on its new range. But she added: “They obviously thought we had something worth copying.”