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August 21, 2017

Pret a Manger Accused of Deceptive Sandwich Packaging

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:07 am

MrConsumer had occasion to eat at what he considers an expensive regional European sandwich shop last March called Pret a Manger. He discovered something sneaky about how they packaged their sandwich wraps.

Pret Bang Bang Chicken

Upon opening the package, one gets an unexpected surprise.


Pret revealed

What looked like a long wrap sandwich, potentially worth the $7.49 price, turns out to be two small halves that come nowhere close to filling the package. The “Lovingly Made” cardboard surrounding the middle of the sandwich hides the dirty little secret of the empty space between the two halves. I thought to myself — great — I have a good Mouse Print* story.

As we have discussed in the past, deceptive packaging can be illegal, particularly when there is nonfunctional empty space in the package. That’s called slack fill, and it tends to give consumers a misimpression about the actual contents of the package. It makes the consumer think there is more product inside than there really is.

Fast forward to this summer when a New York consumer purchased a different wrap at Pret and got snookered too. He thought to himself — great — and he filed a class action lawsuit a few weeks ago against the company claiming millions of dollars of losses suffered by purchasers of these kinds of wraps. His lawsuit claims that depending on the sandwich there can be up to two-and-a-half inches of empty space between the two halves. (See story in Gothamist.)

So we asked Pret about their reaction to the lawsuit and why they package their wraps in this deceptive manner. They did not respond.

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  1. To me this one is a pretty clear cut case of violating the laws of packaging.

    Comment by Lisa — August 21, 2017 @ 8:19 am
  2. This is blatantly deceptive. This seems to be the norm nowadays, seeing just how much a company can get away with before there’s an outcry.

    Comment by Marie — August 21, 2017 @ 9:05 am
  3. Pret is actually an English company. They are almost as ubiquitous in the UK as Starbucks.

    Comment by Johno — August 21, 2017 @ 9:24 am
  4. 1776 the cry heard around the world was, “Give me Liberty of Give me Death!” Now it’s “I’ll SUE!”

    Comment by Catman — August 21, 2017 @ 10:33 am
  5. Interesting here.. The wrap does not have to be like a bag of potato chips though.

    If they did cut at least 1 inch off the packaging would you still buy buy the item?? The cost difference here would like a 1 penny at most.

    Pret a Manger is not low cost place to eat anyway.

    Comment by Richard — August 21, 2017 @ 11:20 am
  6. Reminds me of a time I bought socks that said there were 2 in the package. That turned out to be literal. 2 socks, NOT 2 pair!

    Comment by Lana — August 21, 2017 @ 12:34 pm
  7. To Catman: In today’s society, money talks.

    This is a clear case of packaging deception, but I am afraid that the company may be able to get away with it because the net weight of the product is included on the front of the package.

    This is really shameful.

    Comment by Wayne — August 21, 2017 @ 1:06 pm
  8. Ridiculous! Ludicrous! How will he get return customers by cheating them like this? One time and I would not go back. In fact, upon opening my food, I might go and complain ASAP and demand a refund.

    Comment by Gerry Pong — August 21, 2017 @ 1:11 pm
  9. I wish our local, TV news. would have a nightly review – citing such scams.

    Comment by dave — August 21, 2017 @ 5:05 pm
  10. I’d be curious to know if they cheat consumers in England too or if they just do this in the U.S. because they can get away with it.

    Comment by Angie — August 21, 2017 @ 5:58 pm
  11. Angie
    I have occasionally bought pret sandwiches (mostly in the airport) and never seen anything like this.
    Next time I;m ‘up London’ I’ll pop in and have a look.

    Comment by johno — August 22, 2017 @ 3:03 am
  12. Well Angie I guess the size of the packaging used is the same no matter what country you go to.

    Comment by Richard — August 22, 2017 @ 9:07 am

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