Walmart Advises Manufacturers Against Misleading Packaging

In apparent response to increased scrutiny on retail overcharging and manufacturers who are trying to hide the fact that customers are getting less than they used to, Walmart has asked its suppliers to make sure that their packaging isn’t misleading to customers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Walmart recently sent out notices to companies like Heinz and Nestle telling them to be mindful of labeling laws and to make sure that there’s no discrepancy between what’s on the outside of a package and what’s inside.

“This is a reminder to our suppliers to make sure their labeling matches what’s in the product,” a company rep explains. “We want our customers to know they can have faith in the products they buy.”

In addition to advising manufacturers about legal requirements for packaging and labeling, Walmart explains in the note that if products don’t comply with the rules, it’s the suppliers that will be held responsible, and not the nation’s largest retailer or its Sam’s Club warehouse club subsidiary.

The notice appears to be a reaction to a number of high-profile packaging and pricing gaffes involving big-name brands and stores.

For instance, last year CVS had to pay $225,000 in California regarding misleading packages for a dozen store-brand products. The items were each packed in boxes that gave shoppers the impression that they were going to get much more than was actually included.

Similarly, Procter & Gamble recently settled with California over allegations of using oversized packaging to sell its moisturizer products.

And let’s not forget out McCormick, the pantry powerhouse that’s being sued by a competitor after it reduced the amount of black pepper in its containers without reducing the size of the container.

Earlier this month, Whole Foods admitted to “unintentional” overcharging on some of its pre-packaged fresh foods after being investigated by regulators in both California and New York.

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