Marks & Spencer and Aldi call truce in Colin the Caterpillar cake war

Supermarkets reach high court deal after M&S’s legal action against Aldi over rival Cuthbert cake

Last modified on Tue 1 Feb 2022 13.43 EST

Colin the Caterpillar has shaken hands with rival Cuthbert in a resolution of the supermarket cake wars.

Marks & Spencer has reached a deal with Aldi after taking legal action to protect its bestselling bug-shaped Colin cake. M&S had called in the lawyers over concerns that the German discount grocer’s rival chocolate sponge roll, Cuthbert, was making copycat appearances at birthday parties and picnics.

Details of the deal, which was finalised in the high court last week, have not been revealed, but it is understood that Cuthbert will not appear again in quite the same form.

Marks & Spencer, which launched the legal action against Aldi almost a year ago, said: “The objective of the claim was to protect the [intellectual property] in our Colin the Caterpillar cake and we are very pleased with the outcome.”

Aldi, which is in another legal spat with M&S over a light-up Christmas gin, has indicated that Cuthbert, who was featured as a soft toy in its stores over Christmas and as a cake last spring, will be back, however.

The discounter said in a tweet labelled #freecuthbert: “Getting out early on good behaviour, keep an eye out for Cuthy B this Spring.”

An Aldi spokesperson added: “Cuthbert is free and looking forward to seeing all his fans again very soon!”

Colin the caterpillar, whose name has risen to prominence on social media in recent weeks as a potential attender at Downing Street’s lockdown birthday events, made his debut in 1990. M&S has three trademarks relating to its caterpillar cake, including the words “Colin the Caterpillar” and the packaging.

With more than 15m cake sales under his belt he is one of M&S’s key food brands alongside Percy Pig. He is also known for his philanthropy, thanks to a tie-up with the cancer charity Macmillan.

His fame has led to a number of brand extensions, including his girlfriend (cake) Connie.

But popularity has also led to many similar larval-based confections popping up in rival retailers. Tesco has Curly, Asda has Clyde, at Waitrose it’s Cecil and Sainsbury’s turns over a new leaf with Wiggles. Only Cuthbert appears to have stepped over the line prompting legal action from M&S.

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