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Movie Candy — More Box Than Candy

Have you seen the price of movie candy lately? In Boston, AMC Theatres charges $3.99 to $4.49 for a box with just 3.5 to 5.5 ounces of candy inside. Yikes.

These boxes have come under scrutiny lately because of several class action lawsuits against major manufacturers. Shoppers allege they were misled by the packaging which makes it look like there is a lot of candy in the box, but in reality, most are only about half full.

Here is a story about it by Jeff Rossen, NBC’s investigative reporter on the Today Show (with MrConsumer at the end).

Rossen Reports Movie Candy
Click to watch video

When manufacturers over-package a product creating empty space inside that has no function other than to make consumers think they are getting more for their money than they really are, that is called slack fill, and it’s illegal under federal law (and the law of some states). It is not illegal if the empty space is needed because of settling of the product, or because the machinery to fill the package requires it, or the space is needed to protect the product (such as the cushioning pillow created by large potato chips bags).

Here’s another example not part of a lawsuit. This is a huge box of Bazooka bubble gum — maybe six or seven inches long and over an inch thick. Sure looks like it has a lot of gum inside.


But when you stack up the contents, you get much less than meets the eye given the size of the box.


Bazooka contents

Although the net weight is on the package, and fine print on the back says there are “about 19” pieces inside (there were 18 in this box), the FDA and courts have ruled that having the net weight on the package is an independent requirement separate from the requirement not to use deceptive packaging.

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12 thoughts on “Movie Candy — More Box Than Candy”

  1. Of course, the companies rely on the fact that customers can’t envision what size “5 ounces” represents, while staring at a grossly over-priced cardboard box. Even if that box was filled to the top, anyone who would pay $3.49 and up for that crap truly must be a sugar addict.

  2. Well when you do go to the movie theater you do pay a high markup price for the stuff. Better to get the items at a local grocery store for a cheaper price and then try to sneak it in the movies theater.

    Although it is candy and not potato chips I think they do have to have some space so a package does not overfill. They are mass filling boxes very quickly here, BUTTT how much space is too much??

    A box change size could be to pricey to pull off???

    In a December 19, 2016 post we have the junior mints that got cut in size.

  3. This part of the reason why I don’t go to movie theaters anymore. I wait for the DVD or stream and watch it in the comfort of my living room.

  4. Funny thing is, I expect huge boxes at movie theatres, and expect that they won’t be reasonably filled. I guess I just see the box as a nostalgic part of the moviegoing experience, but I can see why anyone looking for reasonable value would feel misled. Plus they keep the boxes in drawers behind the counter; you can’t shake them prior to purchase to find out what you’re really getting.

  5. Walgreen sells the ‘movie-sized’ boxes of candy for one dollar. A bargain since Walgreen sells mostly over-priced inventory. The theater I go to allows outside food and drinks so no sneaking is necessary.

  6. Well Shawn.. The boxes at the movie theaters are the same size as the ones you can get at the local grocery store though..

  7. you woud think they would want to change to a smaller box as it would save them a lot of money..a smaller box would be less packaging and since box is less than halfway full that reduces the amount of cardboard needed formthe box, less ink required for printing on box, more boxes would fit in the box for shipping therefore requiring less shipping as more boxes in a shipping box means less boxes to ship.
    therefore in doing that they can substantially reduce cost while not changing contents or price.

    therefore the only logical reason to stay witha big half filled box is to decieve consumers.

  8. Well rich jones they have a quota of boxes they need to fill in a minute. That could stop them from really cutting the size of box down by a lot.

    Too small a box and spillage can occur during filling.

  9. Thanks for the information. I think the only good thing is now I don’t feel as guilty for eating that whole large box of junior mints last night.

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