There are hundreds of popular food or restaurant brands worldwide that are regarded as the best - or at least most popular - in their respective areas. For instance, if roll into a small town and the dining options are either McDonald's or WacArnold's (shout out to Chappelle's Show), chances are you're going to go with the restaurant you know. Similarly, you're going to buy Hamburger Helper instead of Panburger Partner and Starbucks instead of Sunbucks, even if the difference in taste isn't all that vast. That's the power of branding and why so many companies go to great lengths to ensure their brand is just as, if not stronger, than their product.
However, it's kind of amusing and even a little sketchy how some companies can easily rip off a more established competitor by marketing a near-exact product with a similar name. You'll see several examples in the list below, but it's mind-boggling that, if you wanted, you could create a bite-sized chocolates and market them as N&N's as opposed to M&M's. Discount stores in North America are famous for selling knockoff products with similar names to the brand in which they copied and nobody seems to care. It's a brilliant business and marketing plan for the lazy entrepreneur and one that obviously has to work out in some instances, or else people would stop doing it. Yet, here we are, having an incredibly hard time believing these 20 products and restaurants are real. Keep scrolling and see if you can recall seeing any of them.
If you're a knockoff brand enthusiast, China is the place for you. A lot of the restaurants or foods on this list are primarily found in China and KFD is no different. In addition to having the same color scheme as KFC, the restaurant even has it's own version of Colonel Sanders as its logo. It even uses similar font and, of course, has a similar menu.
But KFD isn't even the only KFC knockoff in China; in fact, there's a whole subsection of KFC knockoffs, including a KLG, which we can only imagine what it stands for.
19 Fruit Rings
This is almost similar to Crispy Hexagons and Cocoa Peanut Butter Spheres, but in this case Kellogg's Fruit Loops is not only a genius name but also accurately tells you what the cereal is without even having to look at the box. Yet, if you did, you would notice the legendary Toucan Sam, who might be one of the most iconic cereal mascots of all-time with apologies to the Sugar Crisp Bear and Tony the Tiger.
Fruit Rings, meanwhile, is one of the popular knockoff brands that can be found in just about any bargain store; in fact, several different companies have produced the cereal. A quick scan on Google Images shows numerous similar boxes but with mascots like an orangutan, an elephant, and a crocodile. One knockoff, titled Fruit Rolls, even went as far as to use a parrot on its packaging.
18 Duffin Dagels
A lot of these knockoffs are rare and might have only been in business or circulation for a brief period of time, but Duffin Dagels is actually a popular coffee and bagel chain in Spain. An obvious knockoff of Dunkin' Donuts, the chain not only has similar letter font and colors, but also serves many of the same items under slightly different names.
Additionally, Duffin Dagels' social media pages and websites even share a lot of similarities with those operated by Dunkin' Donuts. Confusing the matter is the fact there are Dunkin' Donuts locations in Spain, although they were changed to Dunkin' Coffee as of 2007.
17 Borio Cookies
Introduced in 1912 and marketed as the "Chocolate Sandwich Cookie," Oreos were actually created as an imitation of the Hydrox cookie, which was first manufactured four years prior. However, for more than 100 years, Oreo has been synonymous with creme filling between two chocolate cookies. Even no-name branded cookies with a similar look are referred to Oreos.
However, one of the most uninspiring efforts at a knockoff has to be Borio Cookies, which is an Egypt-based brand manufactured and distributed by Family Nutrition. While originally an attempt at copying the Oreo cookie, the two products are now under the same umbrella as their respective companies are owned by Mondelez International.
16 Crispy Hexagons
Cereal is one of the food products that is most often copied. Simply take a stroll down the cereal aisle at your local grocery store and you'll see 10 different variations of popular brands like Shreddies, Kellogg's Rice Krispies, or Honey Nut Cheerios. So, while it's not uncommon, it's still not often you see so little effort put into the name.
In that sense, you almost have to give the creators of Crispy Hexagons credit for being so direct in what their product is. If you were unaware and just heard the name "Chex," you probably wouldn't be sure of what the cereal was, whereas Crispy Hexagons tells you about its shape and texture.
McDonald's is another brand that has several knockoffs around the world. You could make the argument that a lot of popular burger chains are knockoffs of McDonald's given the Golden Arches was one of the first to take off as a global brand, but none come close to some of these blatant ripoffs.
Iran is home to MaDonal, which you might think is affiliated with McDonald's. Instead, the story goes that it was opened by a former fighter in the Kurdish resistance who, while living as a refugee in Austria. He returned home in the 1990s and applied for a McDonald's franchise but was turned down due to economic sanctions imposed by the Iraqi government. Other knockoffs seen worldwide include Mash Donald's and Michael Alone, the latter of which uses the Golden Arches, but flipped upside down, as its logo.
Ah, who could forget that timeless jingle. How does it go again? Right, "Break me off a piece of that Kat-Kot bar." Who could forget? Kit-Kat is an underrated chocolate bar, so it's not surprising that a company would try to replicate it, but to come up with a name, logo, and packaging so similar to the original seems a bit much.
Moreover, Kit-Kat has been around for more than 80 years, during which time Nestle has perfected the recipe and manufacturing process. The name Kat-Kot might have fooled a few people into buying the bar, but on its own it doesn't sound all that appetizing. It does, however, sound like the perfect name for a luxurious kitty litter box.
The owners of this Ontario, Canada-based fast food joint found a loophole when selecting a name for their restaurant; Burger King might have already been taken, but nobody had filed a copyright on the name Kingburger. Burger King is the kid in class who aced their tests and always completed their homework, while Kingburger is the kid who was told he could copy their homework but only if they changed it up enough as to not draw suspicion from the teacher.
To be fair to the restaurant, it actually has an impressive 4.4 star rating on Google and 130 reviews, most of which are positive. It's not necessarily a cheap knockoff, but it could have at least gone with another name.
12 Cocoa Peanut Butter Spheres
Again, as we mentioned with the Crispy Hexagons cereal, you have to at least give credit to knockoff brands that tell you upfront what the product is. As a society, don't you find we think too much as it is? Why use extra brain power to determine that Chex refers to hexagon-shaped cereal and, similarly, that Reese's Puffs refers to spherical, bite-sized grain puffs that taste like cocoa and peanut butter?
Instead of putting two and two together, you can save all that brain power and simply purchase Cocoa Peanut Butter Spheres, because there is obviously no drop off in taste or product quality. To the credit of knockoff brands, there isn't any to our knowledge that copied that coloring or logo on Reese's Puffs, but there's something intriguing about the Millville version of the cereal which depicts a hungry octopus who looks as though he just came from hanging out with Snoop Dogg.
11 Sunbucks Coffee
Like McDonald's and KFC, Starbucks is another world-renowned international chain that has inspired several knockoff brands. It's not surprising seeing as litigation can sometimes take years to complete and is often not even worth the time for big corporations like those previously mentioned. But again, it's both humorous and almost even admirable to see a company make no real effort to differentiate itself.
That's why Sunbucks Coffee is one of our favorite Starbucks knockoffs. Clearly, they would have called it Moonbucks, but they didn't want it to be confused with the useless currency in the relatively obscure Dota 2 video game. Other knockoffs include Stars & Bucks in Palestine and Bucksstars Coffee in China.
10 Could It Be Butter?
Most people buy margarine not even knowing it's actually a butter substitute and not that real thing. The only ones who are likely aware of the fact are those who purchase I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! which is not only an actual product, but a great name for marketing purposes. The brand has been around since 1981 and is arguably one of the most popular butter substitutes.
You can feel comfortable in knowing what you're getting from I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! because it's directly implied that it's margarine. However, the knockoff, Could It Be Butter?, is both mysterious and disturbing. Nobody wants to question what's actually in the product they buy - it's either butter or not butter.
9 Panburger Partner
Betty Crocker's Hamburger Helper might not be as popular as it once was during the 1990s, when commercials for the product filled the airwaves, but it's still a go-to, easy-to-use pasta supplement for ground beef. Even with the weird hand-shaped logo and character, it's a trusted product for family meals.
Likely assuming that alliteration played a big part in the success of Hamburger Helper, HyVee, which operates more than 245 grocery stores in the Midwestern United States, launched Panburger Partner with all the same varieties as its inspiration. It's really hard to mess up noodles, so we can only assume there's not much of a difference in taste.
8 Honey Nut Scooters
Unfortunately, Honey Nut Scooters is actually a knockoff brand of cereal and not a product line of scooters launched by Honey Nut Cheerios, because that would be awesome. Honey Nut Cheerios, a flavored variation of the original Cheerios breakfast cereal, has been around since 1979 when it was introduced by General Mills and has definitely become the more popular flavor.
Primarily sold in bargain stores, Honey Nut Scooters, of course, not only uses a similar name for its eerily-similar product, but also uses similar color patterns on its packaging. Like most knockoffs, they also don't even come close to the original in terms of flavor; a poll on the Second Rate Snacks blog, which is definitely a reputable source, asked readers to selected between the two products and 570 of 727 respondents picked Honey Nut Cheerios.
7 Pizza Hat
If you were to Google Pizza Hat, you would find ridiculous images of people wearing flat, circular-shaped hats who obviously weren't paid enough for the stock photo. You'll also see hats with the word "Pizza" written on them. Keep scrolling further and you'll eventually come across the Iran-based Pizza Hat, which isn't surprising considering Iran, along with China, is considered one of the world's most populous bootleg brand hubs.
Prior to the 1990s, the country's strict government prohibited contact with Western culture, but its citizens still enjoyed popular food franchises when visiting Dubai. Fast-food places were soon after seen as places of status and knockoffs of Carl's Jr., KFC, Subway, and Pizza Hut became commonplace.
6 Dr. Bob
In addition to cereals, sodas and chips are among the most ripped-off products in the world, which is why we saved them for last. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are among the two most popular soda brands in the world and they have dozens - if not hundreds - of knockoffs such as King Cola, Taka-Cola, and RC Cola. Let's not forget that Pepsi is actually a knockoff of Coca-Cola to begin with.
Dr. Pepper is another flavor that has been replicated multiple times by different companies but none of the knockoffs have come close to being as popular as the original, which was created way back in the 1880s. Like Coca-Cola, there are dozens of knockoffs; Dr. Fine Soda, Dr. Stripes, and Dr. Bob are just a few of the examples.
5 Jays Chips
Potato chips aren't a unique product to which companies like Lay's, Ruffles, or Pringles hold exclusivity over; in fact, all three of those mentioned differ in how they're made, how they look, and how they taste. In regard to Lay's, you can even go into your local bargain grocery store and find several no-name or knockoff variations. However, few names are as blatant as a ripoff as Jays.
Lay's was founded in 1932 and has since become one of the most popular brands of chips in North America, particularly over the past few decades. The original Jays Potato Chips were actually created five years prior to Lay's, but were then named Mrs. Japp's Potato Chips after Eugenia Japp, who created the recipe. They were rebranded as Jays Potato Chips following World War II.
4 Moon Mist
Mountain Dew, like Dr. Pepper, is another brand and flavor that has been replicated countless times. The soft drink flavor was created in 1940 and has long been under the PepsiCo branch, while Coca-Cola put out Mello Yello as a competitor for the citrus-tasting drink adored by gamers worldwide.
Mello Yello is no longer being produced, but knockoffs are extremely popular at bargain stores. One Reddit user shared his dad's Mountain Dew knockoff collection, which consisted of Mountain Lion, Mountain Explosion, Wild Mountain, Mountain W, and Mountain Rapids, among others. It didn't however, include Moon Mist (also a flavor of ice cream that tastes drastically different than Mountain Dew) or Mountain Lighting.
3 Sunny Day
No, Sunny Day is not what the popular orange drink Sunny D actually stands for; instead, it's the name of the Subway knockoff franchise in Yemen. There's also a similar knockoff in Iran that is called Subways. Simply adding an 'S' doesn't do much to differentiate the two brands, but we've got to give credit to Sunny Day, which, upon first hearing it, sounds nothing like Subway other than the fact it rhymes.
Yet, the brand uses the same white, green, and yellow coloring and its logo is obviously inspired by that of Subway's. In one of the few pictures available online, it appears to sell hamburgers and chicken burgers instead of fresh sandwiches.
Even scouring the Internet, it seems hard to find the true story behind Capri-Sonne. Several people recall being able to buy the obvious Capri-Sun knockoff in bargain stores as kids, but there's few results for modern examples of the product being found in stores, at least in the Western World.
One of the results that does come up, however, is the Capri-Sonne FB page, which seems to indicate that the product is specific to Nigeria. The page even directs users to capri-sonne.com, but that only redirects you to the official Capri-Sun website. It's also available in Germany as Capri-Sonne, but that's the official product as owned by Rudolf Wild Ltd. Knockoff or not, it's still strange to see.
If you were never aware of why 7-Eleven is named as it is, there's actually quite a simple and obvious explanation. Although many locations are now open 24 hours per day, the Japan-owned chain of convenience stores was once known as Tote'm, but changed its name to reflect its new business hours: 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., seven days per week. There is now more than 66,000 stores across 17 countries.
However, there are also hundreds of knockoffs, primarily in China, even though 7-Eleven has opened dozens of stores in the country since 1992. One of those knockoffs is 7-Twelve, which has the exact same logo and colors as the original but with the word "Twelve" where "Eleven" normally is. Similar knockoffs in Asia include 7 Mercy, 7-Seven, and 7-Days.