The increase in complaints against consumer products signals Kenyans are becoming more aware of their rights, and rightly so.
Data from the Competition Authority of Kenya shows a 28 per cent rise in protests they have handled in the financial year ended June 2020. More alarming, however, is concerns raised about the safety and deceptive marketing of wheat and maize flour, bread, juices and edible oil.
The food marketers hoodwink and exploit consumers’ desires for healthy eating by advertising products as nutritious, organic or natural when, in fact, they are not. The misleading claims leave consumers confused, which appears intentional, to trick them into making a purchase.
However, these practices are detrimental to companies in the long run. Firstly, there is the risk of costly litigation and penalties when found culpable in addition to tarnishing the brand name.
Further, the money spent on advertising is lost as consumers’ trust is eroded.
While the CAK is doing well as the watchdog, more needs to be done to increase rights awareness and stop offenders.