Taking the air out of puffed up packaging
Open a bag of chips or your favorite cereal and you can't help but feel a bit ripped off because of all that empty space.
Tod Marks says Consumer Reports' readers have complained about a number of products. Though they contain the amount listed on the label, people are plenty mad to find they aren't even close to full.
"Some products like potato chips benefit from having, say, a cushion of air or a lot of air in the package. That's to protect them when they're being shipped on trucks or stacked on top of one another," he said.
But that doesn't explain Uncle Ben's whole grain Fast and Natural rice.
"We contacted a customer-service representative for Uncle Ben's and they told us that rice needs to breathe," Marks said.
"Well, granted, the pouches might have had a couple of holes here and there, but we wouldn't characterize that as a lot of breathing room."
Consumer Reports also found boxes of Shredded Wheat have less than a lot inside once you open up the cereal box.
"We contacted the folks at Post who said, 'yes, it's true, cereal does tend to settle,'" he said.
"They also said another reason why they don't overfill the bags is because it won't seal properly."
But one product outdid all the others.
"Pasta Roni was the most egregious example we saw of the miniscule amount of pasta in a very big box. The company told us they use the same size box for all of their Pasta Roni products, even though the weight of those products isn't the same. They say they do this to help keep down costs."
And, of course, another way to keep down costs is not to fill a box all the way to the top!
Another downside to large packaging is that if you live in a smaller apartment it takes up valuable kitchen space.
Still, marketing experts say companies use the large packaging because given a choice between products of identical weight consumers will choose the bigger package, thinking it's a better deal.
Now you know -- let's start taking the smaller one.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen