It’s called “slack-fill” — but it’s better known as the air in the bag of chips that you’ve opened, only to discover way fewer chips than you bargained for.
For most, it’s just an annoyance. But a New York woman is taking legal action against “slack-fill” — suing Tootsie Roll Industries as the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit that alleges the candy maker hasn’t filled its Junior Mint boxes as full as they should be.
When consumers buy Junior Minds, the suit alleges, they “are getting less candy than they bargained for; they are effectively tricked into paying for air.”
Biola Daniel, the plaintiff, says she bought a 3.5 ounce box of Junior Mints last month at a New York City Duane Read store for $1.49. And to her dismay, it “contained approximately 40 percent non-functional slack-fill,” according to the lawsuit. In other words, it was almost half air.
Compare that with 12 percent slack-fill found in Good n Plenty, or 23 percent found in Milk Duds.
The lawsuit alleges Daniel “was financially injured as a result of Defendant’s [Tootsie Roll Industries’] deceptive conduct as alleged herein because she did not receive the quantity that she paid for.” Because the box was cardboard, the suit notes, Daniel had no way to know she was buying less candy than she expected.
The lawsuit filed was in the U.S. District Court in New York City by the Lee Litigation Group.
“She would not have paid this sum had she known that the box was more than one third full of air or had the box been proportioned to its actual contents,” the lawsuit continues. “Defendant promised Plaintiff DANIEL a full box of candy for $1.49, but it only delivered a partially full box, depriving her of the benefit of her bargain.”
This isn’t the first lawsuit over slack-fill: In another case, which is pending in Los Angeles and involves Sugar Babies candy, Tootsie Roll Industries lawyers argued in a motion to dismiss the suit that the plaintiff’s slack-fill arguments fell short, according to WGRZ.
And just last year, a Southern District Court tossed out a suit that the same firm — Lee Litigation — filed accusing Sour Patch Watermelon Candy of too much slack-fill. That candy had 44 percent more air in the bag than necessary, the suit alleged, according to Gothamist. In that case, the judge told the plaintiffs they had failed to prove they were injured.
Lee Litigation has filed at least 14 class actions over slack-fill claims in the last several years, according to the New York Law Journal.