When a consumer purchases food, he or she expects to receive the amount that is labeled on the package. This lawsuit claims that Herr Foods Incorporated, or “Herr’s,” violates the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act by selling products with non-functional slack-fill.
Herr’s sells many different kinds of potato chips with a variety of different flavors and bag sizes. Many consumers have complained that when they open a bag of Herr’s potato chips, much of the bag is just air. This air is called “slack-fill.” Most potato chip manufactures use slack fill to add cushion to chips to prevent breakage. Herr’s goes beyond this though and fills a shockingly low percentage of their bags with potato chips.
A 3.5 oz. bag of Herr’s Crisp “N Tasty Potato Chips was opened to demonstrate the excessive slack-fill. The bag was 9.75 inches tall, but the height of the potato chips inside only reached 4.5 inches. This means that only 46% of the available space was used to hold potato chips. Another 6.5 oz. bag of Herr’s chips was opened and compared to an 8.5 oz. bag of Ruffles chips. While the second bag of Herr’s chips had 54% of the bag used as slack-fill, the Ruffles bag only had 30% slack-fill. This difference demonstrates that bags of chips absolutely do not need upwards of 50% of the bag dedicated slack-fill.
The size of the plastic and aluminum chip bags in comparison to the volume of the chips within the bag makes consumers believe that they are buying more than what is actually being sold. This deceptive practice influences consumers to make purchases they would not have made at the same prices if they knew about the slack-fill.
One plaintiff in this case, Kedney Merisier, is a resident of Queens County, New York. At a local grocery store in Rosedale, Merisier purchased a 6.5 oz. bag of Herr’s Crisp “N Tasty Potato Chips for $2.00. He had paid a premium for the product because he reasonably expected a nearly-full bag of high quality potato chips. He would not have paid this much for the chips had he known that the bag was more than half empty. The plaintiff believes he had paid $2.00 for a full bag of chips and that he did not receive even half of that. Herr’s has been unjustly enriched at the expense of consumers like Merisier.
Based on the facts of the case, Herr Food Incorporated violated New York General Business Law, the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act, and was unjustly enriched at the expense of the consumer.Article Type: Lawsuit