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Friday, October 21, 2016

Watkins Lawsuit Over Pepper Tin Sizes Will Go Forward In Federal Court

If the outside of a food package is the same, especially for a food you don’t buy very often, do you notice? Longtime Consumerist readers might, but most people wouldn’t. Last year, spice giant McCormick quietly shrank down the contents of its boxes of black pepper, but kept using the same size container. Tiny competitor Watkins noticed, and filed a federal lawsuit against McCormick accusing it of false advertising. A judge decided this week that the lawsuit could go forward.

McCormick didn’t see the problem with this difference in its packaging:

Mark Jacobs, chief executive of Watkins, explained to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that his company was new to the spice market, and noticed that McCormick was dropping its pepper prices while the wholesale price was going up. Wondering how such a thing was possible, that’s when the company noticed that the containers were the same size, but sometimes considerably lighter.



Anonymous said...

Quietly ripping off consumers. Lots of products are that way now.

Anonymous said...

If the containers were transparent, this wouldn't have happened.

Think about if milk were sold the same way, the gallon jug getting less and less milk in it over time but at the same price.

lmclain said...

90% of consumers can't add 52+63 and divide the result by five
and many can't read above the 5th grade level.
EASY TARGETS. Not only in economics, but politics, too.
As John Wayne once said, "Life is hard, but it's a lot harder when you're stupid."
Keep cheering.

Anonymous said...

This is stupid and I will make sure I don't purchase any Watkins products. They are trying to steal money from McCormick rather than actually compete in the marketplace. The government required grocery stores to put per unit prices on the shelves years ago so people could make informed decisions about their purchases. Now a judge is saying that may not be enough. Next the government will tell companies how to package their products. What BS. If Watkins thinks McCormick is deceiving customers than all they have to do is publicize it on their own product. Why should McCormick have to spend large amounts of money to retool the size of their pepper container(a cost that would be passed on to the consumer)? I urge everyone to boycott any products made by Watkins.

Anonymous said...

All companies do this...just take a stroll thru the grocery aisles. Watkins needs to put on big boy pants and move on.

Anonymous said...

Watkins is trying to correct some sketchy marketing and you people suggest a boycott and for them to put on big boy panties?

You deserve exactly what you get.

Anonymous said...

Well, i noticed & so I put it back on the shelf. (what I do in all cases where there's less product for the same price. I'd rather pay a higher price for the same amount. But I don't know why this is necessary.)

Anonymous said...

10:08 There is nothing sketchy about what McCormick is doing. According to the article they lowered the weight and lowered the price(although the per unit price increased) while using the same container. Watkins however instead of advertising their product is using the court to fight back. Just like a bunch of little weasels. This is America not Russia or China or France.