The Real Reason Aldi UK Just Brought Back Cuthbert The Caterpillar For Charity

Can caterpillar cakes raising cash for cancer charities ever be criticized? Apparently the answer is yes. For context, British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has been selling a cake in the shape of a cartoon caterpillar for 30 years (via BBC). It features a sponge cake, buttercream frosting, and milk and white chocolate decorations and is cleverly called Colin the Caterpillar.

While M&S were the first retailer to create such a confection, other stores quickly joined in, and now Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Tesco, and ASDA all have caterpillar cakes with cute names like Cecil, Curly, and Clyde. However, it's discount retailer Aldi's impersonation (called Cuthbert the Caterpillar) that has M&S most upset, going so far as to call it an infringement on the company's trademark. Aldi responded in a clever way, bringing the cute confection back for a limited time with all proceeds going to Teenage Cancer Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The announcement came with attempted olive branches in the form of tweets reading: "Hey @marksandspencer can Colin and Cuthbert be besties? We're bringing back a limited edition Cuthbert and want to donate profits to cancer charities including your partners @macmillancancer & ours @teenagecancer. Let's raise money for charity, not lawyers #caterpillarsforcancer," (via Twitter). However, instead of burying the hatchet, this announcement led to an all-out feud on social media.

The social media squabble that started with caterpillar cakes

Since the announcement of Cuthbert the Caterpillar's return for charity, the @AldiUK Twitter account has been subtweeting M&S and mocking its legal threats, posting: "Just Colin our lawyers. #FreeCuthbert" and "Marks & Snitches more like" (via Twitter). Of course, M&S hasn't been silent either.

In response to the Aldi announcement, M&S tweeted: "Hey @AldiUK we love a charity idea (Colin's been a BIG fundraiser for years). We just want you to use your own character. How about #kevinthecarrotcake? That idea's on us... and we promise we won't do Keith" topped off with a winking emoji.

The feud has even led to some excellent memes, like Cuthbert superimposed over Meghan Markle being interviewed by Oprah, and a fake courtroom sketch of Cuthbert on the witness stand (via The Tab). Some fans see the Cuthbert campaign as a blatant ripoff trying to win public opinion through charity while others don't see the point of M&S just going after Aldi's caterpillar cake when many stores make them. However, according to M&S, Cuthbert infringes on its Colin the Caterpillar cake copyright, and it is suing over intellectual property theft (via BBC). For now, at least, the future of Cuthbert is uncertain.