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Chris Packham pitches supermarkets with alternative to caterpillar cakes

Chris Packham has urged supermarkets to take inspiration from different species of insect for their character cakes (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Chris Packham has urged supermarkets to take inspiration from different species of insect for their character cakes (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Chris Packham has suggested supermarkets “modify” their caterpillar cakes to different UK species of butterflies or moths, amid Aldi’s copyright row with Marks & Spencer.

The discount supermarket recently announced it is bringing back its Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake, despite the fact it is the subject of a copyright infringement legal challenge.

A limited edition of the cake will return to shelves next month, with all profits to be donated to cancer charities.

TV star Packham has suggested that supermarkets instead create their own “species” of cake.

In an open letter to large UK supermarkets, the broadcaster wrote on Twitter: “Your cakes are charming, characterful and colourful – but nothing like real caterpillars, very many of which are equally charming, characterful and colourful.

“So how about I help your teams modify your cakes so they each, within reason and practicality, give a nod to a UK species of butterfly or moth larvae.

“Then you would all have a distinct ‘species’ of cake – there would be a diverse fauna of caterpillar confectionary across our supermarket shelves!”

He asked that in exchange, 10% of profits from sales of the cakes are given to Butterfly Conservation, adding: “Surely on #EarthDay we can find a way to work together for our biodiversity?!”

M&S lodged an intellectual property claim with the High Court last week, arguing the similarity of Aldi’s product to its Colin cake leads consumers to believe they are of the same standard and “ride on the coat-tails” of M&S’s reputation with the product.

It wants Aldi to remove the product from sale and agree not to sell anything similar in future.

M&S has three trademarks relating to Colin, which the retailer believes gives it an enhanced distinctive character and reputation.

Nevertheless, the M&S original has spawned a range of imitators since its launch, such as Sainsbury’s Wiggles, Tesco’s Curly, Morris by Morrisons, the Co-op’s Charlie, Cecil by Waitrose and Asda’s Clyde.

Packham said the decrease in numbers of butterflies is a “biodiversity crisis”, adding it is a “mass extermination event”.

He said if his idea is adopted, Aldi’s proceeds pledged to cancer charities could be shared “between people and wildlife”.

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