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How to Avoid Creating Deceptive Packaging

September 01, 2016

A recent article published by Label & Narrow Web (L&NW) discussed how Anheuser-Busch Inbev was sued by a beer drinker in the U.S. who was led to believe that their brand beer was a specialty craft product and had been brewed in a Belgian convent, when it was actually brewed in the same factory in Belgium that makes Stella Artois. The consumer’s reasoning behind suing Anheuser-Busch wasn’t due to his lack of product satisfaction, but because he felt that he was misled by the product label.

The consumer, Henry Vazquez, believed that he overpaid for the Leffe beer, which he thought was a premium product at the time of purchase. He thought that the product had been brewed and sustained by Belgian monks, when in reality, it had been brewed in a plant in Leuven, Belgium which has the brewing capacity of 238 million gallons of beer per year.

Be Clear with Your Customers

Natalie Rico, a lawyer for Vazquez, argued that the company’s marketing clearly shows Leffe to be a specialty craft beer and that customers aren’t getting what they’re led to believe they’re paying for. Customers are made to think that they are purchasing a limited quantity and high-quality product when that isn’t the truth.

For this reason, it is very important that your packaging and product labels be completely honest with your customers so they know exactly what they are paying for. There are rules and regulations to follow for all of your products that use custom label printing.

Fair Packaging and Labeling Act

To avoid a lawsuit such as this, it is important to follow the rules and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). The FPLA was enforced in in 1967 to identify the type of item in which the project is; the name and location of the business, distributor, packer, or manufacturer; and the net quantity of the product’s contents. The FPLA should be followed for all household commodities such as food products, cosmetics, drugs, and medical devices to avoid misleading or deceptive packaging.

Any products that don’t fall under the household commodity category of the FPLA should follow the Weights and Measures laws for each applicable state.

Avoid Deceiving Conscious Customers

Most of today’s shoppers consider themselves to be environmentally-conscious customers, so companies must be careful not to deceive their clients through false advertising. Custom label printing should play a part in enhancing your brand, but it shouldn’t mislead people.

According to Sustainable Brands, businesses must be careful when referring to their products as “green” because there’s actually no such thing as a completely “green” product. Sustainable Brands explains that every product creates waste through their use of resources and energy, especially if a product must be transported long distances. They use the example of shipping organic strawberries grown in California all the way to New York, which would create more greenhouse gasses than conventionally grown strawberries from New Jersey.

To avoid misleading or confusing your customers, it is important to avoid deceptive packaging and labeling as much as possible. Instead of leading your clients to believe that they are getting more of something or that it’s of a better quality than it actually is, it is important to concentrate on the real benefits that your product offers its users.  

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