Sneaky packaging can tempt you into buying products you wouldn’t have otherwise picked up, while masking information that may make you think twice. Which packaging tactics leave you ticked off?
We’ve investigated tricks and tactics that supermarkets and manufacturers use on their product packaging, many of which have been reported to us by Which? members.
I’ve included a few examples below – you can see the full list in the December issue of Which? magazine.
Poor-value gift sets
Some toiletry gift sets offer such poor value for money that you’re effectively paying for the box it comes in.
We found a £6.50 Dove gift set of products that can be bought separately for £4.40. Paying £2.10 extra for a box doesn’t seem worth it to me.
Unilever told us the shop decides the in-store selling price, and that the cost of manufacturing gift packs is much higher.
Tiny portion sizes that make products look healthier
Most products say on the pack how much of your reference intake (RI) of salt, sugar, fat and saturated fat they provide. But Goodfella’s pizzas only give the RI for one quarter of a pizza – even the 10-inch ‘Extra Thin’ range.
Personally, I’d always eat at least half a pizza that size, and 80% of Which? members (non-pizza eaters excepted) agree. Goodfella’s said it’s changing its labelling and the portion size given to half a pizza.
‘Light’ products that aren’t actually healthy
To be labelled as ‘light’, ‘lite’ or ‘reduced’, most products need to have 30% less of one key nutrient (such as calories or fat) compared with the standard version. But more than two in five Which? members have purchased a product labelled ‘light’ or ‘reduced fat’ only to find it wasn’t as healthy as they thought.
Flora Buttery Light contains high amounts of both fat (45g per 100g) and saturated fat (10g per 100g). Unilever told us that Flora Buttery Light complies with labelling regulations.
We think it’s misleading to call products ‘light’ when they’re still high in fat, sugar or saturated fat, particularly when they don’t use traffic-light nutrition labelling on the pack to indicate this.
Which of these packaging tricks bugs you the most – or is your biggest frustration something we haven’t covered here?