CHOICE claims food industry making “push to hide shrinking packs”
Consumer group CHOICE has claimed some food companies have “big appetites for reducing the size of products without reducing the price”, and has called on domestic and international policy makers not to remove vital information that allows consumers to be able to quickly see the quantity of a product on the front of food packaging.
CHOICE’s call comes in response to a proposal by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) to remove the requirement for Australian packaged food products to display quantity information on the front of pack. CHOICE said consumers rely on quantity information on the front of food products and it should not be removed
“Whether it is getting less joy from our chocolate bars or not so saucy pasta pots, some food companies look to pump profits by reducing portion sizes while maintaining the same price and package size,” said CHOICE spokesperson Tom Godfrey. “Quantity statements allow consumers to quickly see what they’re paying for, such as 1.25 litres of lemonade or 220 grams of chocolate,” he said.
CHOICE referred to the promotion in 2013 by confectionery company Cadbury of “10 per cent more joy” when the Company increased their 200 gram block to 220 grams, even though the block was originally 250 grams.
“The industry proposal to hide the quantity information on the back of pack is particularly concerning given consumers’ reliance on the information,” Mr Godfrey said.
Consumers wants quantity information on front of packages, CHOICE
New research released by CHOICE showed nearly three quarters of Australian consumers want to continue to see how much they’re getting on the front of packages. The national survey of over 3000 adults found 74 per cent considered it important that quantity information is shown on the front label.
“It’s simply incorrect for industry groups to claim consumers do not care where the quantity statement is located,” says Mr Godfrey. “These are very important results because they come at a time when industry groups are lobbying policy makers to hide this information on the back label,” he said.
Currently Australian weights and measure laws, and an international recommendation that Australia has signed on to, require that quantity statements are located on the front label of packages.
“It’s important to know what you’re paying for – we’ve seen plenty of examples in the past where companies have quietly shrunk the size of products but not the price,” Mr Godfrey said. “Front-of-pack quantity statements allow consumers to quickly glance at a range of products on the supermarket shelf and make a judgement about value,” he said.