Packaging Airspace

Bought this larger container of Tic Tacs.
Imagine our surprise when the unopened package was turned upside down… and realized that it is at least 40% air space.

Our expression reflected the expression of the character on the package!


That’s a really interesting example @meltam. While some ‘settling’ is going to occur for some products, it’s pretty clear that the bigger packet might make people feel like they are getting more than they really are. If any other readers see this type of thing, please send it our way :thumbsup:


Did you also notice you only get 98gms and not 100gms!


I had the same problem with a rather expensive packet of Tasmanian Fudge. It is encased in a rather firm cardboard container and although the weight is shown it is quite deceiving as the inside fudge is so much smaller that the outside packet, probably by about 25%. Robin


Thanks for the example Robin :thumbsup:


I think we have all seen examples of ‘over-packaging’ that the manufacturer tries to explain away as ‘settling’. It isn’t clear to me how a pressurised bag of chips is going to get smaller through settling, but that is the common excuse.

Of course, the worst example I have seen was when I got a neuro-image, which showed that my brain only took up 20% of my skull due to settling. It’s everywhere! (At least this explains the rattling noise.)


Laughing out loud :joy: :rofl:


I’ve had this problem with various vitamins i’ve purchased where the containers are fairly large, but the tablets only fill up around 10% of the bottle. Recently I was on hold on the phone when trying to call one of the companies to let them know they didn’t have 300 tablets in the pack as most of it was air. Whilst on hold, I started counting the tablets (just a sample of them) and realised 300 did actually fit in the bottom section of the bottle, so hung up. Why do vitamin tablets need so much air? Is it due to us feeling better at parting with $20 for a larger sized bottle?


Wondering if anyone has any photos of packages of vitamins, supplements, etc that are only part filled and what you think of this practice?

Recently, I bought a pack of 200 fish oil capsules in an opaque plastic screw top tub. So in the shop i could not see how much was in the tub just the quantity statement (200 capsules) on the front of the pack.

At home i found that the pack was only about two thirds full. See attached photo.

My takes on this are:

  • It may reflect packers wanting to minimize packaging costs by using only a few tub sizes.
  • Because the number of capsules is shown prominently and legibly on the front of the pack, legally it would not be regarded a deceptive.
  • To make well informed choices consumers should always look at, and use, the quantity info on the pack and ignore the pack dimensions.
  • This is another example of the importance of continuing to campaign for retention of the requirement in the trade measurement regulations that the quantity statement be shown very prominently and legibly on the front of prepackages.

Any more examples and views?


Packets of Chips, Corn Chips and similar

Lots of medications in pill form in bottles are only part full (correct number of tablets though)

Nasal sprays eg Nasex

Tolberone Chocolate :slight_smile:

Many more Vitamin type pills in containers

Ointments in tubes that are then put in boxes that make it look like it is a larger amount of product (amount is correctly labelled though)

I think it is deceptive, because we judge with our eyes first many times. The marketing knows this so package items to take advantage.

KFC Go Bucket as received

and as pictured on their website


So you expect to get valleys full of chocolate between the chocolate mountains?

I would think Toblerone is more honest in presentation geometry than most vendors. Once upon a time standard chocolate blocks were mainly 250g. Now they may be 200, 125 or even 100 but the outline is the same size (or nearly so) as 250! How thin can you make the block and still confuse people about how much product they are buying?

Not to mention those sneaky grooves they cut in them, I want all the chocolate stolen from those grooves given back. We need to start a new campaign over this.

Groove restoration now! Marching arm in arm, chanting “Give me my groove back”, “Confiscation is not groovy!”


Thanks for this info and the photos. Very helpful.

I think the biggest problems are when the product is in an opaque pack as were my fish oil capsules. When the pack is transparent at least you can see how much air (slack fill) there is.

HOWEVER, my advice is very much for consumers to always look at, and use, the quantity info on the pack (and the unit price if provided), because:

  • most people are hopeless at estimating quantity of content by using visual assessment of pack dimensions
  • pack dimensions can be easily manipulated by industry to influence visual estimation of content
  • the excessive slack fill problem with some products

Re vitamins, supplements and other non prescription products sold by chemists: I think that chemists should, like large supermarkets, be required to provide unit pricing for non prescription products.

I have yet to see any unit pricing provided by chemists voluntarily. Has anyone? If so, how well was it is provided?.


This is how my anti anxiety medication is dispensed to me at the chemist after my script is submitted because of the new controlled substance laws being in force now . There is 100 tablets in all . 10 x 10 tablets per container . I also have to have an authority to possess this medication . . The ten tablets barely cover the bottom of the container . /

There are reasons why the government has gone down this path but it is really not relevant to this post .


I had to buy a pack of vitamin D3 tablets after being told to do so by my doctor. I bought a bulk pack of 400 tablets. When I arrived home and opened the pack, there was only a small section at the bottom filled with small tablets. tried ringing the phone number on the pack to query why the pack was almost empty when there should have been 400 tablets in it. Whilst on hold for around half an hour I had the opportunity to count the tablets. After counting around 50, I was able to estimate that there were in fact 400 in there and most of the pack was air. I ended up hanging up as it appeared nobody was going to answer the call anyway.

I believe that a larger pack size than necessary is not only wasteful of resources, but it is deceptive advertising - giving us the impression the product is better value than it really is.


One valid reason for containers being larger than needed to hold the product is the need to provide information on the package. This can, in some cases, be a mandatory requirement.


The other is cost. It may be cheaper to have a single sized container for all product amounts (economies of scale) rather than multiple for many package sizes. The downside is it creates unnecessary waste.


Agreed, especially for very small quantities , And it is important that info on packs is easy to notice and ready. However, even on large packs some of the info, esp important consumer info, is often not easy to notice or read


Agreed. This is why the quantity info needs to be on the front and be very easy to notice and read. As it was on my partly filled pack of 200 fish oil capsules, (see photo)


Deception is the marketing norm now. I was buying fish oil capsules for years until I watched “The Checkout” when Dr Rosemary Stanton said by the time the oil got to filling these capsules, the oil is oxidised!
Also, Choice magazine some months ago stated that a Newcastle University study showed that the capsules were not even 50% full. This was a private study so no specific details are available.


This happens with the Healthy Care Super Calcium Complex tablets I buy. There are 400 tablets to the large plastic bottle (similar probably to the green one you get your fish oil in). I don’t have a photo, because I am part way through the container already.

Slightly off your track: to make matters worse, often a percentage of the calcium tablets have fragmented. The tablets are made of compressed powder with a chalky texture, which I am guessing break apart with rough handling. When I near the bottom of the bottle, it is sometimes neigh on impossible to dole out the required daily tablet and a half because often all that is left is crumbs and powder. Unfortunately, you don’t notice this till you are near the bottom.

I have taken newly opened bottles back on opening because so much of the contents were badly broken up. This can be difficult because I buy the next bottle when I am near the chemist, which may be well in advance of the old one running out. So I could be storing a bottle for a couple of weeks to a month before finding out about the contents.