Non-functional slack fill is an unacceptable practice of packaging consumer products.

Non-functional Slack Fill Lawyer

Also called “shrinkflation” it occurs when consumer products shrink in size or quantity but the prices remain the same – or increase.

What is slack fill?

“Slack fill” is a term used to describe the difference between the capacity of a container and the actual volume of product inside. It refers to the packaging as opposed to the amount of product within a package. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates how consumer product containers are filled.

Every container has some amount of slack fill. And as long as it serves a purpose (to protect fragile product inside, to preserve freshness, etc.) it is considered “functional”.  However, if the space inside a container is excessive and doesn’t appear to serve a purpose, this is problematic.

Commonly referred to as “non-functional” slack fill, consumers are deceived into falsely thinking that they can expect more product than what is actually inside the container. The weight or volume will be accurate, but the container used to house the product is larger than necessary.

Examples of functional slack fill

The FDA considers the slack fill space functional when it serves a reasonable purpose. These acceptable, reasonable purposes as defined by the FDA are:

  1. Protection of the package contents
  2. The package itself performs a function
  3. The space is a requirement of the machines used to close the packaging
  4. Product settling is unavoidable during shipping and handling
  5. Product consists of a food packaged in a reusable container that has value and presents the food (hold it, gift, commemorative or promotional packaging)
  6. The inability to increase the level of fill to further reduce the size of the package

Packaging or container space that exists for any other reason is considered “non-functional”.

It’s common to find many packaged products that legally integrate slack fill into their container design. Consider the following examples:

  • Chips
  • Candy
  • Supplements
  • Cosmetics

The way in which these products are packaged has been approved by the FDA.

Manufacturers that do not abide by the FDA’s official packaging regulations are potentially violating slack fill rules.

Slack fill laws

It’s illegal under both state and federal law for manufacturers to knowingly mislead consumers about the actual volumes inside nontransparent packaging. Although the law is clear, companies continue to come up with creative ways to hide real product volumes and amounts by the size of their containers.

Recently, consumers – especially in Northern California – have taken notice of these deceitful practices and have chosen to fight back against manufacturers. In order to stop the sale of misleading, partially-filled containers to consumers non-functional slack fill cases are often filed as class action lawsuits.

Non-Functional Slack Fill Lawyer

The Fraser Law Firm, P.C. acts as a consumer advocate to fight against manufacturers breaking slack fill laws. Unnecessarily large containers and excess packaging which is used for no valid reason benefits only the companies who are selling consumers their products.

If you believe that a product is violating California’s Slack Fill Laws, we’d like to hear from you. Contact us to speak with a non-functional slack fill lawyer today.

Every client matters. Whether your case is large or small, you will receive expert advice, guidance, and attention from an experienced attorney who will ensure that your rights are protected and that your case is handled professionally.

Contact us today for a free consultation

Recently, it’s hard to ignore the increasing number of non-functional slack fill cases making media headlines. Now more than ever, consumers are acting on their frustrations and legally holding companies accountable.

Michael Fraser is an attorney in Fair Oaks, California.

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