Peeved About Puffed-Up Products

You know the frustration-you open up a big box of cereal or that enormous bag of chips only to discover it's half empty.

Many manufacturers defend the practice, saying it's necessary. But Consumer Reports says people are frustrated by products that aren't filled to the top.

Tod Marks says Consumer Reports readers have complained about a number of products. Thought 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." said Marks.

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. 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." said Marks.

And what about the box of Shredded Wheat? Look like a whole lot of cereal-but it isn't.

"We contacted the folks at Post who said, yes, it's true, cereal does tend to settle. They also said another reason why they don't overfilled the bags is because it's won't seal properly." said Marks.

But one product outdid all the others.

"Pasta Roni was the most egregious example we saw of the minuscule 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." said Marks.

Not surprisingly, marketing experts say given a choice between products of equal weight, people will choose the bigger package, thinking it's a better deal.

There is a federal law that's supposed to prevent a lot of empty space in packages, but Consumer Reports says it allows, well, plenty of wiggle room.

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