A class action lawsuit was filed in a California court that alleges the packaging of whey dietary products from Glanbia Performance Nutrition, or Optimum Nutrition, comes up substantially empty. The company produces a variety of nutritional whey products that come in opaque containers. The lawsuit contends the containers are not filled to an acceptable level satisfactory to the average consumer. They average a level of 35% empty space, or “slack-fill.”
Sammer Zakhour and Aurelio Batista filed the suit against Glanbia on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated. The complaint details misleading packaging dimensions by Glanbia. State and federal consumer protection laws require food manufacturers not to mislead consumers with packaging and container dimensions. California law states, “no container shall be made, formed, or filled to be misleading,” and, “a container that does not allow the consumer to fully view its contents shall be considered to be filled as to be misleading if it contains nonfunctional slack-fill.”
The complaint gives an example of the Glanbia product, 100% Whey Gold Standard. The product’s container is roughly ten inches tall. Yet, 35% of the container is empty space, or nonfunctional slack-fill.
There are legitimate reasons why a food container is permitted to be partially empty. These include protection of the contents of the package, machine requirements used for distributing contents into the package, and product settling during shipping and handling, which is unavoidable. The lawsuit contends that none of these factors account for the substantial slack-fill in all of Glanbia’s whey containers. The main argument of the plaintiffs is that Glanbia intentionally incorporated nonfunctional slack-fill into its containers in order to mislead consumers.
Class members assert that had they known about the extent of empty space in the opaque containers, they never would have purchased the Glanbia whey products. Allegations include fraudulent and unfair actions on behalf of the company.