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Frustrated customer calls out company over misleading food packaging: 'This should be illegal'

"The moment I get home with a package like this, is the last time I buy the product."

"The moment I get home with a package like this, is the last time I buy the product."

Photo Credit: iStock

One trend is popping up in grocery stores everywhere, and it's infuriating customers. That trend is "slack fill," the practice of putting a small amount of product in a large package to make it look like the customer is getting more than they are. One Redditor shared a frustrating example on r/mildlyinfuriating.

What's happening?

"[Filiera Madeo] tricked me," the original poster said. "Where are the rest of my sausages?"

Photo Credit: Reddit

Their first photo shows a package of Italian sausages in a plastic tray with a cardboard band wrapped around the middle. Judging by the size of the tray and the visible sausages, there ought to be five or six pieces in the package, but removing the cardboard band reveals a wide, intentional gap in the middle of the tray, leaving the customer with only four.

In the second photo, the original poster makes a thumbs-down gesture, which sums up their reaction to the deceptive packaging.

"This should be illegal…" one commenter said.

"Is their plan to make money from as many one-time suckers as they can? I don't see how that's sustainable. The moment I get home with a package like this, is the last time I buy the product," another shared.

Why is slack fill concerning?

In short, slack fill means customers pay more money for less product. This is especially troubling when prices are already rising out of control. A company that puts less food into a larger package is intentionally tricking consumers out of their money, making it difficult to budget and plan meals.

The original poster also pointed out a less obvious problem with half-empty packages. "Slack fill deceives consumers and wastes so much plastic," they said.

Based on a rough visual estimate, Filiera Madeo could have used 20-25% less plastic for the package — which means the company is spending money to trick customers, not to mention the extra environmental damage.

Is Filiera Madeo doing anything to be more sustainable?

According to its website, the company has some green initiatives, including using clean solar energy when possible and recycling agricultural waste into fertilizer. However, it doesn't address other kinds of waste or mention its packaging.

What can I do to avoid plastic waste and slack fill?

First, look around at grocery stores and check with local growers to find providers with plastic-free packaging. It's better for the environment and also safer for food.

You can also avoid deceptive marketing by growing as much of your food as possible.

Some companies are taking steps to reduce their plastic waste, such as a British chip company making its chip bags with biodegradable packaging and Nesquik adopting 100% recycled materials for its shrink-sleeve labels.

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