Slack fill litigation is on the rise, particularly in the U.S. Who would have thought that such small spaces could cause such big problems? Here you can learn why the amount of useless space within product packaging is causing uproar.

A False Impression

Slack fill litigation is flourishing. Why? Well, consumers are being made to believe that they are receiving more food or drink than they are actually receiving. The packaging of these products implies that there is more of the product within the package than there is due to slack fill: the empty space within a package.

While slack fill is often necessary in packaging, there are a number of cases where it is non-functional. This is where slack fill claims come in. The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) has regulations which agree to a certain amount of slack fill in packaging. These include:

  • Protection of the package contents
  • Operational necessities of machinery during the packaging process
  • Unavoidable product settling during shipping and handling
  • Functional purposes – for the preparation or consumption of the product
  • Reusability – can be used again after consumption
  • Inability to reduce packaging or increase fill

If slack fill is used for reasons other than the above, it is considered as non-functional slack fill and is therefore misleading to consumers.

A Way to Make Money

Plaintiffs are alleging that companies are tricking consumers into paying more money for less product by including slack fill in their packaging. For example, last year, a candy manufacturer was sued for supposedly including 28 candies in a box that had the capacity for 50. Mars, Inc. was also sued because it allegedly under-filled tubes of M&M minis.

While both of these cases were dismissed either for failure to state a claim or by voluntary dismissal, these types of lawsuits can, of course, create significant bad exposure for the manufacturers. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider the design of your packaging and eradicate unnecessary air in a bag to avoid facing claims of deceptive trade practices.

At Charlotte Packaging, we have an extensive range of packaging solutions that will effectively protect your food and present it in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Our film bags enable consumers to see exactly what’s inside, so they’ll never come away with your product thinking they’ve got less than what they expected.

Browse our products today and find a wealth of packaging options that are perfect for what you’re looking for.

Recommended Reading:

Colour Psychology: The Use of Colour in Packaging and Branding

Improving Your Packaging Score: How Better Packaging Can Help