Class Action Lawsuit: Slack Fill Products
Slack Fill: the difference between the actual capacity of a container and the volume of product contained therein.
Have you ever bought a bag of chips only to open it and find it half full? Maybe that’s happened once or twice, but more likely it happens every time and is accepted as normal. In reality however, this is a violation of consumer rights: consumers have the right to know what they are paying for. This practice is deceptive as the packaging is typically opaque so consumers aren’t aware of how much of the package is actually filled.
There are several types of products which may fall under the category of slack fill, a few examples being candy, chips, supplements, and cosmetics (lotions, skin care, etc.).
Take for example the packaging of this Olay Moisturizer. From the outside, it looks like a decently sized container of product; however, when the package is opened, the entire outside is revealed to be padded by glass with only the inner container filled with product. There is a substantial difference between the volume of the container vs. the part of the container actually filled with moisturizer, and consumers are often willing to pay more when they assume the volume of the product is the entirety of the container.
The package of ground pepper shown above has 25% less product than the packaging implies – 3oz. of pepper vs. the 4oz tin.
Another known product with common slack fill is chips. Chip bags are actually typically filled with a serving of chips and nitrogen – a harmless gas that is said to cushion the chips whereas oxygen would cause the chips to become stale. While potentially a protective practice, this does not negate the fact around half of each bag of chips is filled with air, with the packaging implying a higher volume of product.