Cuthbert the Caterpillar – Yet Another Division in our Society?


Of all the controversies of 2021, I’m not sure this was on anyone’s bingo card.

Just like the other ‘issues’ perpetuated by Twitter, it popped out of nowhere. And like the blockage of the Suez Canal, its existence makes everyone an expert in some obscure, never-heard-of-before subject – and yes, I am directly comparing the geopolitical history of the Suez Canal to the blind-taste-testing of multiple varieties of a log-shaped chocolate cake with the face of a caterpillar stuck on one end. It’s been a weird year.

Supermarket brands are a polarising subject in the UK with everyone having their favourite. Unsurprisingly, Aldi came out on top in an October 2020 poll by Which? with M&S at a close second. This is rather convenient for the caterpillar argument since you could frame this as a great battle between the nation’s two favourite supermarket brands for dominance of the chocolate-log-turned-caterpillar market.

So far though, it remains an opportunity for me to scroll through social media looking at the predictable range of new Cuthbert the Caterpillar memes – including the cake photoshopped into the biggest hit of the year, Line of Duty.

I guess the real question here is ‘what is the point?’

In the real world, M&S are lodging an intellectual property claim because they don’t think that customers will be able to tell £5 Cuthbert and £7 Colin apart, arguing that they are ‘protecting’ Colin and his good name from his mortal enemy across the street. With Colin’s 15 million sales in his bag (cocoon?) and over 30 years on the shelf (branch?), I would think he’s approaching retirement anyway and Cuthbert would probably beat him in one-on-one combat, however that would look.

Obviously, the question we were all asking as soon as we heard of this was, ‘Is there something that makes Colin worth the extra £2, other than not having your shopping hurled at you faster than you can bag it at the checkout?’

Fortunately for us, the Mirror sent Ruth, 48, from Kent on a very essential mission to find as many caterpillars as she could and conduct the ultimate test. Unfortunately for us, Cuthbert had hidden from Ruth by the time of her visit and so this wasn’t much use, however Colin came out on top with a score of 5/5 which, to be fair, is unbeatable.

Nevertheless, the court battle is yet to come, and until that’s over we’ll live with another division in our society. At least this time the division is only about a branded log of chocolate.

I, unlike Ruth from Kent, don’t claim to be an expert (she didn’t either, I’m just bitter she got the job), and certainly don’t think it’s up to us to decide their fate. Surely, we should leave it up to them – Colin and Cuthbert – to sort out the dispute between themselves while we sit back and watch the age-old-classic-probably-Brexit-voting caterpillar take on his faster, more agile rival in some kind of duel. Maybe Sainsbury’s Wiggles could referee.

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