Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Truth in Advertising

If I were in a position of power, I would make it mandatory for food companies to package their products in a non-deceiving way. How many times have you opened a box of macaroni and cheese and discovered that 3/4 of the box is filled with air? Or opened a bag of chips to find that the contents only take up half the bag?

Today I opened a box of angel hair pasta with herb sauce. The box was 7 1/4" x 5". At the bottom of the box was a measly 1" of pasta, and a small bag of powdered seasoning. The box didn't need to be 7 1/4" tall. A 2" tall box would have been ample room for the pasta and packet of seasoning The amount of cardboard wasted on unnecessary (and deceitful) packaging was ludicrous. (See pictures below)

This has long been a pet peeve of mine. Just think how much shelving space would be saved in grocery stores if food companies sized their packaging to fit the actual contents.

End of rant. See the pictures for yourself. The ball point pen in the second picture is pointing to the 1" mark on the ruler. That's how much pasta fills the box. The rest of the box is just empty.

In the second picture, below, I've cut down the side of the box so you can see the 1" of pasta.

This is the actual size of box needed: 2" tall. The other 5" was pure waste.

1 comment:

Tim J said...

I have to say (by which I mean I don't have to at all, but I'm going to) that that's really appalling! I'm unsure whether such packaging would be legal in Britain.

They would, however, almost certainly print the excuse "Contents may have settled in transit" on the box.

With some items another issue arises—clearly not with that huge box, though.

A relative of mine was until quite recently responsible for checking the labelling on food packaging for compliance with the various legal requirements, and the amount of information required has steadily grown. With some items it's actually impossible to both keep the text a legible size and keep the packaging a sensible size for the contents.

I do feel the quantity of packaging has got quite out of hand, though, and I particularly object to the very thick, tough, almost indestructable plastic packaging that many small items are now supplied in. It's a waste of plastic, it's extremely difficult to get into, and in some cases it's so strong that there's a risk of damaging the item simply by unpacking it...!

By the way, in the UK advertising has to be "legal, decent, honest and truthful", but for some reason election advertising is normally nowhere near that.