The death of brands. That is what could happen to if the Government gives plain tobacco packaging the green light.

This is not a warning from tobacco suppliers or even the retailers who sell their products. These are the words of confectionery manufacturer Mars, whose fears have been revealed in documents first submitted to Westminster during the plain packs consultation in 2012.

Until now, food and drink manufacturers have remained tight-lipped, on the record at least, about their concerns, refusing to fuel the argument that legislation is a slippery slope leading from tobacco to alcohol, fat and sugar. But this document lays bare how suppliers really feel.  

Plain packaging in the tobacco industry would set a “key precedent” for the application of similar legislation to other industries, “including the food and non-alcoholic beverage industries in which Mars operates”, it said. 

Imagine customers walking into your shop one day and having to study the small print on your countlines to tell a Mars apart from a Snickers. Tobacco suppliers have warned about this for years – in March 2012 JTI told us the logical next step for plain packs was booze.

Normal service was resumed this week when Retail Express contacted leading confectionery and soft drink suppliers – no comments were forthcoming about plain packaging.

It’s also interesting that Mars has confirmed that it won’t be responding to the consultation this time around. Who will step up to the plate to help halt this “next logical step”?