Lidl has moved to get one over its supermarket rival M&S by entering a dispute over the name of flavours at a local ice cream parlour.
Fabio’s Gelato, in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, was forced to rename its Percy Pig-inspired offering last week after M&S sent a letter asking them to stop using the name ‘Perky Pig’.
The ice cream, which replicates the strawberry and raspberry flavour of M&S’s popular sweets and is served with Percy Pigs on top, was then changed to ‘Notorious P.I.G’ by owner Fabio Vincenti.
But now the saga has taken another twist after Lidl couldn’t resist the temptation of getting involved.
The low-budget chain has made a gesture to Fabio, who runs the parlour with his wife Hannah, by sending them a letter and several bags of its Henry Hippo sweets.
In a subtle dig at M&S, the German retailer has asked Fabio and Hannah to create a new flavour with the sweets and has even given them permission to name the ice cream Henry Hippo.
Glenda Rochead, Lidl’s communications manager, sent a handwritten letter confirming that there would be no need to use a different name – unlike their M&S counterparts.
The letter says: ‘We’ve been reading all about your “piggy pickle” and wanted to reach out with a “Lidl” inspiration for your next flavour courtesy of our very own Henry Hippos!
‘Sending you a bumper-load to work your gelato magic with. What’s more, we’d be simply honoured if you were to name it Henry Hippo ice cream!’
Fabio and Hannah said they were both ‘blown away’ when the package and letter arrived from Lidl.
They told Metro.co.uk: ‘It’s something we never expected to happen. It’s an amazing gesture from such a huge company to the little guys who work hard day in, day out, going unseen.
‘We’ve not made the flavour yet but as soon as our notorious pig flavour runs out, we will produce this one with a very similar recipe.
‘But we plan to now use a hot pink marshmallow ripple through the Henry Hippo gelato to give it a colour and flavour boost.
‘We are pretty confident it will be just as popular. If it doesn’t taste great, we wouldn’t sell it in our parlours.’
The pair played down the rivalry between Lidl and M&S, admitting they’re just happy to be involved in creating ice cream based on sweets the supermarkets produce.
They added: ‘We’re over the moon that M&S and Lidl have been such great companies giving us some limelight with our gelato creation.
’We’d happily turn more of their delicious products into gelato in the future if they ever called upon our services.’
M&S asked Fabio and Hannah to stop using the Percy Pig name because it’s one of the company’s ‘hero’ brands and they ‘own the trademarks to protect it’.
The upmarket retailer said in a letter: ‘While we are flattered that you have been inspired to create a flavour based on our Percy Pig sweets, and in no way wish to stop you selling this flavour or from using our sweets to top it, we would be grateful if you could avoid using the name Percy Pig to do so.
‘We risk losing those trademarks (and more importantly to us, consumers will no longer be confident Percy Pig-branded products originate from M&S) if we do not take steps to stop others from using them without our permission.
‘We hope you understand how important it is for us to protect our brand. However, we also understand that mistakes are easily made in this area and we are keen to resolve this amicably.’
An M&S spokesperson previously said it was ‘flattering’ that the Percy Pig brand had inspired Fabio’s new gelato.
Lidl has been approached for further comment on the ice cream saga.
M&S also previously took umbrage with Aldi over their Cuthbert the Caterpillar cakes which bear a similar resemblance to its Colin the Caterpillar cakes.
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