Rice-a-Roni Boxes Deceptively Big, Suit Says

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May 19 — Rice-a-Roni and Pasta Roni products are deceptively packaged in boxes that are more than half empty, a would-be class suit alleges.

Quaker Oats Co. sells the popular grains in boxes about 7.5 inches tall and 1.75 inches wide, plaintiffs Matthew Palmer and Annette Martinez allege in a May 18 complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Yet, about 53 percent of the interior of the box is empty space or non-functional slack-fill, the plaintiffs say.

Consumers looking at the sizes of the packages would expect them to be substantially filled with food product, the complaint alleges.

There's no functional reason for the empty space, the plaintiffs say, and the misleading packaging violates consumer protection and food labeling laws.

Plaintiffs seek to represent a national class, as well as California and New York subclasses of consumers who say they paid a premium for less food than they actually got.

Quaker Oats didn't respond May 19 to an e-mail seeking comment.

The Kazerouni Law Group and others represent the plaintiffs.

Other recent slack fill cases challenge the packaging of protein powder (17 CLASS 474, 5/13/16), M&M candy (17 CLASS 393, 4/22/16), and the iconic McCormick black pepper tins (16 CLASS 1405, 12/25/15).

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie A. Steinberg in Washington at jsteinberg@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com and Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bna.com

For More Information

The complaints is at http://src.bna.com/e9t.