Consumer Reports Pits Pretty Food Packaging Picture Against Paltry Reality

(Consumer Reports)

We’ve all fallen for it before: Cruising down the grocery aisle, deciding what to pick when suddenly, there it is — a box bearing a beautifully shot photo of a tantalizing snack, delicious gourmet dish or some other form of tempting cuisine. That fantasy can come crashing down, as plenty of customers have complained to our hardworking siblings at Consumer Reports that the packaging on many products just doesn’t live up to the reality.

Consumer Reports headed out to the store and loaded up a cart full of some of the foods readers complained about as being nothing like what was pictured on the box.

Too small, too mushy or just ugly and as unappetizing as all get-out — the list of complaints is endless as food companies try to present the prettiest picture possible.

A few examples:

Lean Pockets Pretzel Bread Sandwiches: The box shows a pretzel bread roll fairly stuffed with grilled chicken and peppers, but CR’s sample had a barely full pocket. Lean, indeed.

Banquet’s Spaghetti and Meatballs: It would be tough to twirl even one piece of the very short noodles, which are in pieces instead of strands. Not to mention the teeny tiny meatballs that look shriveled and sad in comparison to the ones on the box.

Tabatchnick Tuscany Lentil Soup: The soup on the box looks absolutely delicious, with fully-formed lentils and red and green veggies popping out at the eye. The actual soup, as a reader pointed out, is a “brown mush with carrots. You couldn’t even identify individual lentils. Boo hiss.”

It’s important to point out that in some cases, products didn’t really end up being that bad. After all, a shopper may from time to time just happen to buy a single problem package. Perhaps a carton of mint chocolate ice cream with nary a chip to be found, for example.

We want to see your not-so-close contenders as well. Send in examples of poorly advertised products you’ve come across to or via our mobile Tipster app for iPhone and Android.


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