A small Minnesota producer, Watkins Inc., filed a lawsuit against giant spice maker McCormick & Co., claiming it has misled consumers by secretly cutting the amount of pepper in its tins by 25 percent, without reducing the price or size of the container.Watkins has been supplying grandmothers with vanilla extract for almost a century and a half. But now they have ambitions to expand into spices;
Watkins claims McCormick has violated federal and state laws regarding deceptive trade practices and has misled consumers and food retailers. The Star Tribune reports that Watkins says McCormick has cut the amount of pepper in its spice tins by half, to 2 ounces.Slack-fill, The Lawsuit. Could be an episode of Seinfeld.
McCormick “gave the false impression that nothing had changed,” Watkins said in its lawsuit. The company’s pepper tins “are now 25 percent empty, which constitutes nonfunctional ‘slack-fill.”’