Deceptive food packaging. Foodwatch’s petition

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Deceptive food packaging, suggesting higher than actual contents, has landed in the crosshairs of Foodwatch. The French office of the international consumer association identifies 7 cases where the food is up to 68 percent less than the capacity of the packaging. And he launches a petition to achieve change.

Deceptive food packaging

Foodwatch’s initiative counters the practice of using disproportionate packaging both in terms of the deception consumers fall into and the environmental damage, in terms of wasted resources and waste generation.

Net of technological requirements, which sometimes (rarely) require increased packaging to protect food, the prevalence of deceptive and oversized food packaging is a purely commercial phenomenon. A strategy aimed at attracting the consumer with the illusion of a large package. Exactly. And not surprisingly, this practice is often combined with higher unit prices than competitors. Even air is paid for (!).

7 exemplary cases

The organization identified 7 exemplary cases of the phenomenon. By comparing them with similar products, he measured the percentage of empty space, which remains from the difference between the package and the contained food.

1 – Barilla cereals and quinoa: 60%.

2 – Céréales Crunchy Carrefour, 50%.

3 – Herbes basilic (basil) Monoprix, 35%

4 – Taboulé Bio Léa Nature, 58%.

5 – Thé vert bio pêche hibiscus Lipton, 43%.

6 – Sojasun soy steak, 34%.

7 – Dés de saumons (salmon bites) E.Leclerc, 68%.

The petition, Carrefour reacts

Against the phenomenon of deceptive food packaging, Foodwatch urges people to sign the petition asking manufacturers and/or distributors of the 7 selected products for a concrete commitment to reduce unnecessary packaging oversizing or justify the need for it on the label. Impractical assumption, the latter, considering that for each selected product there is a more effectively packaged alternative.

Of the 7 recipients of the petition only Carrefour responded promptly. On 9/18/20, the French banner agreed to reduce the size of packaging reported by Foodwatch and reaffirmed its commitment to reduce its packaging by 5,000 tons by 2025.

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Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".