Food & Wine

Outrage at sneaky packaging symbol that short-changes customers

Outrage at sneaky packaging symbol that short-changes customers

A Woolworths customer’s complaint over the amount of beef mince in a packet has brought public attention to a little known code that is commonly found on supermarket products.

The supermarket says that it’s not to blame for the error, despite knowledge of the code being a revelation for many.

Queensland mum Mandy Smith purchased a 500g package of beef mince from her local Woolworths store recently and paid $7.50 for the packet.

When Mandy weighed the meat on her scale at home, she discovered that the mince weighed just 262g and took to Facebook to voice her outrage.

“Seriously Woolworths … I have been buying this mince like this for a while, and not cheap due to trying to cut out fat. I weighed it today and there is less than 300 grams in a supposed 500g pack!” she wrote.

“I paid $7.50 for 500 grams and got this! And yes my scales are fine I use them daily by (the) way. How many people are you ripping off (by) including the packaging weight?”

It has since been pointed out that supermarkets put a letter “e” next to the weight on products, which surprisingly stands for estimate.

It’s called the “average quantity system”, and according to the National Measurement Institute (NMI), IT’S “an internationally agreed method of determining the size or quality of prepacked articles with ‘consistent normal content’”.

“This means it provides confirmation of the measurement or quantity of goods in the package, being sold by measure,” the NMI website reads.

“AQS provides a 97.5 per cent assurance that goods are the correct quantity within the prescribed tolerances.”

A Woolworths spokesman told news.com.au that the company took Mandy’s claim seriously.

A Woolworths spokesman told news.com.au the company took Ms Smith’s claim seriously.

“We want our customers to shop with the confidence they’re getting what they’re paying for,” the spokesman said.

“We’re aware of the customer’s claim and have been looking into it with our meat production partner.

“We have a range of checks and balances in place throughout production to help ensure our products comply with trade measurement.”

It has also advised customers who are concerned about the weight of a product to return the item for a refund.