Denise Goldberg's blog

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Packaging decisions

Do you ever wonder how food companies decide how to package their products?

A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to taste World of Grain cookies at Whole Foods. Ah, tasty! and (for cookies) they have some good qualities from a nutrition standpoint. The product inside of the box is good, but the packaging? I'd have to say it needs a great deal of improvement.

A box of cookies contains 4 inner bags, each containing (about) 7 cookies, 130 calories for the contents of the bag. OK, 4 bags, 7 cookies, that's 28 cookies at 18.5 calories each. The box seems to imply that a bag is a serving, and that was confirmed by the company representative running the tasting. For me? Two of these tasty treats satisfies my after-dinner craving for something a little sweet. Two, not seven.

On the company's Who are we? page, they state that "We are ever mindful of how our business is connected to the world around us, and in that spirit we weigh our options with our customers, suppliers, the planet and our families in mind.". Something about this just doesn't sit right with me. Setting a serving size at a full (inner) bag makes no sense. I believe there are many people out there who will grab a bag as a serving just because it is packaged that way. What's wrong with one cookie? Two? What's wrong with leaving it to the consumer to decide how cookies really fit into a healthy diet? The statement about weighing options with the planet in mind? A box and 4 bags could be replaced with a single bag, a much smaller waste stream. What are they really thinking?

Will I buy these again? If the packaging is changed, then yes, I would buy them again. But the excessive waste - 4 bags + 1 box - when 1 reasonably sealed bag would do really bothers me. For now these are definitely not on my shopping list.