A BASSENDEAN company that copied parts of the packaging from a small Freo soup producer only to be blasted by an all-out cyber war has agreed to change their designs, but says the attack went beyond the pale.
Two weeks ago micro-entrepreneur David Kane discovered that cross-city rival Fresh Frontier had released a brand of soups featuring packaging that was uncannily similar to his brand Suppa Club.
“No one was doing soup in glass jars, and this new way of approaching packaging signalled that we were redefining the soup category in the gourmet market,” Mr Kane told the Herald.
Fresh Frontier’s new range, which was released on May 1, also came in a glass jar for the first time and had a cardboard sleeve featuring a distinct semi-circle cut-out to make the soup visible. The black-and-white colour scheme was similar and it had almost exactly the same symbols to declare whether the contents were gluten or GMO-free.
Mr Kane said Fresh Frontier had been following his Instagram account so would have known about his product, including the recipes — which share similarities with the Bassendean company’s new brand.
He says he tried calling Fresh Frontier and reached out via its social media platforms, hoping it had been a stuff-up by a design company, but after being told someone would get back, all he got was radio silence.
Mr Kane says he won’t be the only one to suffer if the issue affects his business, as he regularly donates his left-over soup to St Pat’s.
“In the end, it’s up to customers to choose what kind of community they want by voting with their purchase,” Mr Kane said.
Fresh Frontier spokesperson Donna Leen, whose husband is a partner in the company, agrees they copied the cut-out at the bottom of the packaging, but puts any other similarities down to either following market trends or sub-consciously reproducing them because they’d been eye-catching.
Ms Leen says when a supporter of Mr Kane complained om Freo Massive about the similarities on Friday, all hell broke loose.
“On the Friday before last at 5pm I had a call from Mia (who has been working on the company’s social media presence) who was out with her friends saying ‘oh my god, oh my god, it’s started on Facebook,” Ms Leen says.
“They started writing really nasty comments on every one of our posts, and every single post had a red angry emoji face.
“We watched our reviews, that were hard-earned, get decimated.”
Ms Leen says some of the language was so foul and the complaints became so defamatory that she de-activated the company’s review section and went and lay down in her bedroom and vomited.
“I was thinking ‘oh my god, we could lose the business, we could lose everything’,” she said.
“It was so unfair.”
Ms Leen says following the attack, she called an emergency meeting with the packaging company and they’re ready to go with a new look.
“When it’s on the shelf, there would be no mistaking them,” she said.