The Grocer revealed in January 2006 that Cook, which has 36 stores across the south of England, had taken exception to M&S launching a ready meals range called Cook!
It claimed the packaging and wording were so similar to its own that its customers believed it was supplying M&S. Nine months later, it launched a new look to avoid confusion, using a different font and changing its fascia from blue and orange to light green and maroon.
Now, however, M&S has relaunched its Cook! range as The Cook Menu using lettering on its logo that Cook claims is "uncannily similar" to its own. Cook uses the phrase 'The Cook Menu' in its catalogue.
"The only thing that bothers us is customer confusion," said Cook co-founder Edward Perry. "We have had a large number of customers thinking we supply M&S, which we would never do, and this is frustrating when we have spent so much effort differentiating our food from theirs by making it so stonkingly superior. So to have people think that what they sell under their 'Cook Menu' is what we have been selling under our 'Cook Menu' for so long is deeply frustrating."
Cook would not be taking legal action, he added. "We're not going to waste our time trying to sue a leviathan supermarket when we're just a small independent company we simply cannot afford it. We're just going to continue to differentiate, through superior product, customer service in our stores and developing our brand."
M&S is marketing The Cook Menu on its website as "a variety of exciting dishes, inspired by avours from around the world, which all use the very best ingredients".
The retailer denied there was any confusion between the ranges, arguing that consumers understood that it only sold M&S prepared foods.