McCormick & Co was recently in a heated lawsuit regarding the size of their ground pepper product. This company is one of the most trusted names when it comes to condiments and other cooking ingredients. This is why when a smaller spice seller, Watkins, Inc discovered that their competitor removed 25% of their product but still using the same tins, they sued McCormick.
A picture is going around the internet where it shows what Watkins is trying to prove with their case. When compared side by side, it is obvious that McCormick seems to have more pepper than what the Watkins container has when in fact, McCormick is fooling its customers with this very common visual trick!
McCormick is using optical illusion so they can sell more ground pepper than Watkins and a lot of people think that this is not fair for the smaller company. Even though the two McCormick ground pepper tin cans appear to look like they are the same size, one of them contains 8 ounces of the product while the other only has 6 ounces!
The smaller tin can from Watkins for their ground pepper also has 6 ounces but when compared with the McCormick packaging, customers feel that they are getting more pepper with the latter. We must understand that even though these two companies are selling the same amount of product in their tins, McCormick is using larger containers to fool their customers.
If this is true, then this is definitely a blatant act of deceit!
This is the reason why Watkins sued McCormick. They are claiming that their competitor is deceiving customers by reducing their product amount and still using the same container size and by because their products are housed in non-see-through containers, buyers are not aware of this issue. But if you take a closer look at the tin container, it says 6 ounces on the bottom instead of their 8 ounces. What makes it worse, this is printed in a very tiny font that most shoppers are not able to notice it at first glance. According to Watkins, this dirty sales tactic is hurting their sale of spices.
Watkins, Inc. released a PR release and they stated:
“McCormick has been illegally “slack filling” (under-filling tins) its ground black pepper in tins in a manner that misleads retailers and consumers and is an illegal, deceptive marketing practice.”
McCormick defended their side. According to them, they have never falsely advertised their products because the weight of their product is listed on the tin.
Aside from Watkins, McCormick is also facing a class-action lawsuit from consumers who claim that the company tricked and swindled them with their products. Currently, this case is making its way to the federal courts.
All we can say is that, as a consumer, let us be mindful of the products that we are purchasing. Do not easily trust a product. Make sure that you are keen to find and notice even the tiniest details. Inspect them thoroughly because we all know that each company has their own way of selling their products.
Have you purchased new McCormick tins of ground black pepper? Do you think McCormick is playing a dirty game with their competitors?