TESCO have been accused of ripping off the idea for their new skin toned plasters from a small company run by people of colour.
Nünude say they came up with the idea in 2017 and pitched the concept to Tesco, who at the time claimed they were not interested.
The firm, based in Wembley, North London, were angered when last month the supermarket giant launched a range of plasters for different skin tones.
Tesco gained considerable positive publicity for the products, which they sold with the slogan: “It’s about bloody time.”
Nünude CEO Joanne Morales says that Tesco are failing to acknowledge her input and accused them of “discrediting the recognition of our work”.
A screenshot shows an order from a Tesco product development manager dated 5 July 2019 requesting from Nünude range of plasters in light, medium and dark shades.
Photos of the plasters also show the similarity between the product’s internal packaging.
Tesco’s range, sold at £1, also dramatically undercuts the “original” product which sells for three times the price.
The claims first came to light on social media where an “incensed” friend of Joanne’s voiced outrage over Tesco’s behaviour.
Lovette Jallow quoted an article discussing Tesco’s launched saying: “What this article doesn’t mention is that my best friend created skin coloured plaster many years ago.
“Pitched the idea to Tesco two years ago. They took in samples and then copied her work, repackaged it and shut down yet another small poc [people of colour] owned company.”
She added: “When the idea was pitched to tesco they werent buying it. They obviously didnt see the need until now.
“So they pretend they are ahead of times when in fact they are thieving ideas and replicating them as their own. Yet refusing to pay black influencers to market it.”
Lovette’s posts, which have racked up more than 100,000 likes online, sparked fury among social media users.
Meera Ghani wrote: “Horrifying but not surprising.”
@Kelila_Jade added: “How about Tesco start paying people for their ideas ? Thieves.”
And @eastLDNdungeon replied: “They are parasites.”
Speaking today, Joanne said: “A call was made to Tesco in 2017 and 2018 in which they didn’t show interest,.
“A product development manager, as stated on their Linkedin, ordered from our page.
“They ordered in July 2019 same month we launched in UK, a follow-up letter was sent asking for feedback but there was no reply.
“We called again in Aug 2019 but were sent from one department to another and not given the chance to speak to anyone in the right positions.
“To clarify – we are delighted that larger businesses and brands start recognising that the world is diverse.
“What’s disheartening though, is that credit should be given where credit is deserved.
“Campaigns claiming ‘it’s bloody time’ when really it has been here and you’ve known that, discredits the recognition of our work.
“When the larger establishments copy and paste DESPITE their budgets and endless possibilities they’re not being inclusive, they just want to come across as it.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We made the decision to sell a more diverse range of plasters after a colleague saw a Tweet which described the emotional response one man had the first time he used a plaster that matched his skin tone.
“No UK supermarket had ever stocked plasters in a range of skin tones before and we saw this as an opportunity for Tesco to lead the charge and make a difference.”