Some of Britain’s major supermarket chains are facing the wrath of trading standards officers following reports that their own-brand bags of fresh air are being half-filled with crisps in order to bulk out the packaging.
According to a report by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), supermarkets are using this tactic to make packets look fuller. ‘The consumer thinks she’s getting value for money,’ wrote one investigator, ‘but in reality what she thinks is a family-size bag of air mainly consists of a fried potato snack.’
Sainburys is one of those under fire, with their premium bags of Sandbanks Sea Air consisting of up to 50% sea salt and malt vinegar crisps and their Atmosphere of Kobe Beef Grazing Pasture containing a staggering 70% Fillet Steak crinkle-cut potato chips. Rivals Asda are also on the defensive, after their budget Bugger-All and Sweet F.A. packs were found to contain over 30g of scampi and bacon flavour fries respectively.
The OFT has urged supermarkets to follow the lead of the household names of such as Walkers, whose snacks contain a ratio of 10% crisp to 90% fresh air – the 10% being the minimum industry standard amount of fried potato ballast needed to stop the bags being blown off the shelves.
The supermarkets have hit back at the allegations, with one industry spokesman calling for the air/crisp ratio to be reviewed: ‘If the OFT wants to dispute this, then we are more than happy to take them on in the courts, unless the case amicably settles in transit.’