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10th May 2024

People baffled after discovering hidden meaning behind ‘e’ symbol on food packets

Ryan Price

It’s a cheeky little way that supermarkets can get away with charging more for less.

Supermarket shoppers have discovered the meaning behind a small but significant symbol on some food packaging, and they’re not happy about it.

You’ve probably seen the ‘e’ symbol, typically located next to the weight description on packets of crisps and other items from the grocery store, but you’ve more than likely never bothered to think about what it could stand for.

One woman on Facebook made the discovery about the ‘e’ symbol after conducting her own experiment.

She bought a bag of crisps from an Australian Aldi store which were meant to be 230g, but after weighing it she found that there were only 139g of crisps contained with the bag.

The mum, from Canberra, shared a photo of the discovery and asked: “How is this okay at all? [We] try to save money by buying from Aldi, but we don’t even get the amount on the packet!”

She wrote: “More than two-thirds of the packet was air – hence why I decided to check it… I put the whole bag with chips in it on the scales first and it was 157g.”

Several other Facebook users were shocked there were so few crisps in the bag before one person pointed out that the ‘e’ on the bag indicates the volume or weight of the product is in fact an “average value”.

One wrote: ”Buy fresh, buy local, buy bulk and if needs be separate & home freeze.”

An angry shopper added: ”I don’t care what the E in the corner stands for or packaging errors, get it right I’m paying for 500g give me 500g not rocket science.”

According to the UK government website, the ‘℮’ mark, when placed on a package, is a “declaration by the packer that the contents comply with the average system. There is no requirement for packages to be labelled with the ‘℮’ mark. The Regulations prohibit its use on packages that do not meet certain criteria.”

Following Brexit the ‘e’ mark is no longer required on products in the UK, but is still used voluntarily.

According to EU regulations, prepackaged (or prepacked) products sold in any EU country must provide information on the package specifying the nominal quantity (weight or volume) of their contents. They explain that the ‘e’ mark “placed next to the nominal quantity, shows that you have complied with the relevant European laws”.

To avoid getting ripped off and making the most out of your money, someone else suggested: ”If you went to a butchers they weigh the products in front of you.”

While this doesn’t exactly apply to a packet of crisps, it certainly makes sense if you want to get as much as you pay for when it comes to more expensive meat and poultry products.

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