“The envelopes of almonds, lentils or ravioli contain up to 56% vacuum”, denounces the CLCV

As the price of many food products rises, some brands abuse overpackaging and give “the illusion of consumers that there is much more product than there really is”Lisa Faulet, scientific and food manager of the National Association for the Defense of Consumers and Users (CLCV), denounces Thursday, September 22 on franceinfo.

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The CLCV studied the packaging of 250 products in nine large retail chains. Although vacuum is necessary to preserve food products, some “Bags of almonds, lentils or even ravioli contain up to 56% vacuum”, he pointed. The Asociation “It asks manufacturers to reduce empty packaging and unnecessary packaging as much as possible.”

franceinfo: Have you noticed a trend towards overpackaging?

Lisa Fallet: This is one of the observations we made in our study. Obviously, the packaging has a fundamental role in the conservation of the product and its protection during handling. But what we have found is that there is a lot of packaging that seems completely excessive or useless. Indeed, there are bags, for example of almonds, bags of lentils or even ravioli that actually contain up to 56% vacuum so that, at first glance, you get the impression that the bag is well filled. We made this observation really on all shelves: dry goods, seeds, lentils, pasta, crackers, and also fresh produce, particularly hot dog trays or bacon bits, for example.

Why do brands abuse this process?

The vacuum is necessary to also protect the product, but when we see that half of the container is formed by vacuum, it does not seem to us necessarily justified and completely excessive. The point is to give the consumer the illusion that there are many more products than there really are. And then having great packaging also allows brands to present beautiful photos or marketing claims to entice the consumer and make them want to buy the product.

Is the anti-waste law approved in 2020 not enough?

Yes, there is the AGEC law [relative à la lutte contre le gaspillage et à l’économie circulaire] promote the circular economy, which precisely aims to reduce packaging.

There are very, very global goals, for example, to reduce single-use plastic packaging by 20% by 2025. It does not go far enough for us.

Lisa Faulet (CCLV)

in france info

It is not forbidden to use a plastic film that is completely superfluous around tea cans, for example, or to remove cardboard sleeves around yoghurts that are not useful. There is no such obligation at all for professionals.

Are there alternatives to these plastic and cardboard containers?

Manufacturers are asked to minimize empty space and unnecessary packaging. Subsequently, the consumer can also, in the purchase mode, favor bulk products, for example, choose products without overpackaging as they are. There are professionals who make an effort and reduce this packaging to the maximum. And then also change in bulk by bringing your own container. It could also be a solution.

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