When is too much candy not enough?
For a Manhattan woman, it’s when nearly half of a box of candy is filled with air.
In a federal class-action lawsuit against Tootsie Roll Industries, Biola Daniel claims the manufacturer of Junior Mints intentionally deceived sweet-toothed consumers by packaging them in unnecessarily large boxes topped off with too much air, referred to as “slack-fill.”
“The size of the product’s boxes in comparison to the volume of the candy contained therein makes it appear to plaintiff and class members that they are buying more than what is actually being sold,” Daniel said in the 36-page suit filed this week in U.S. District Court in New York City. “Plaintiff and class members are denied the benefit of their bargain because they pay for full boxes of the product but actually receive far less.”
According to the 36-page suit, Daniel purchased a 3.5 ounce package of the chocolate-covered mint candy at a Duane Reade pharmacy on 125th Street on Sept. 23 for $1.49.
LAWSUIT: Read the complaint
Daniel said the box "contained approximately 40 percent non-functional slack-fill."
The lawsuit says that's significantly more packaged air than other comparable candies like Milk Duds and Good n Plenty. Daniel said a Milk Duds package contains only 23 percent slack-fill, and Good n Plenty just 12 percent.
"By comparing the box of defendant’s product to the boxes of comparable candies, it is easy to see that the product contains non-functional slack-fill," the suit says. "Competitors’ product boxes are similar in size to defendant’s product boxes — yet contain far more candy. This demonstrates that it is possible to fit a greater quantity of candy into defendant’s product’s boxes."
Attorneys representing Daniel did not return calls for comment.
The lawsuit is a class-action complaint, which seeks other plaintiffs to join in the claim. Daniel is the initial lead plaintiff.
Officials at Chicago-based Tootsie Roll Industries did not return a call seeking comment. But in a similar lawsuit pending in Los Angeles, lawyers for the company said those claims were similar to others that have fallen short in court.
A motion to dismiss the California claim said "plaintiff’s arguments rest almost entirely on the exact same allegations this court has already found insufficient to confer standing to challenge the Sugar Babies snack box."