Comparative advertising in the supermarket sector

Court of Amsterdam

The court of Amsterdam recently ruled on comparative advertising in the supermarket sector. Dirk van den Broek presented himself in advertisements by stating that it would be 20% cheaper than Albert Heijn. There is regular competition in the sector on price, both by supermarket organizations themselves and by franchisees in the supermarket sector against their direct competitors in the area. However, it is often overlooked that comparative advertising is legally subject to very strict rules. Products should therefore not simply be compared with each other. Sizes, weights, qualities and composition must be exactly the same in order to be able to apply a proper comparison. As a rule, this means that only A-brands can be compared and the comparison of the so-called house brands often ends up with deviations in composition, quantity, quality of packaging, et cetera. In that case, the court is obliged to apply the law, which also happened in the case that Albert Heijn brought against Dirk van den Broek. The claim for rectification was therefore granted by the court. The foregoing shows that comparative advertising is indeed permitted, but it goes without saying that no apples can be compared with oranges. All this is quite strict and must meet strict legal requirements.

Mr J. Sterk – Franchise lawyer

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