Wise sued for allegedly underfilling potato chip bags

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The maker of Wise potato chips has been sued by two consumers who said it fills bags less than halfway, deceiving them into overpaying.

Wise Foods systematically underfills bags and has left them 58 percent to 75 percent empty, well above the 30 percent that might be justified, Sameline Alce and Desiré Nugent said in a lawsuit filed on Monday night in Manhattan federal court.

Alce, from New York City's Bronx borough, and Nugent, from Washington, D.C., said they would have paid less for their chips had they known about the empty space or if bags were "proportioned" to their contents, even if the labels showed the correct weights.

Wise, based in Berwick, Pennsylvania, is a unit of Mexico's Arca Continental SAB. Neither immediately responded on Tuesday to requests for comment.

18 Perfect Potato Recipes
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18 Perfect Potato Recipes

Potatoes are a super versatile ingredient in your kitchen. Read on to learn how to use them in these perfect potatoe recipes.

Roasted Red Potatoes with Spam and Asparagus

Bacon Egg & Cheese(cake) loves to replace bacon with spam, and in this recipe it transformed her dish into something unique for brunch.

Image Credit: Bacon Egg & Cheese(cake)

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Horseradish Aioli

If you crave sweet potato fries with brunch or lunch, then The Whole Bite's recipe is for you.

Image Credit: The Whole Bite

Chorizo Stuffing with Ciabatta and Sweet Potatoes

This unusual stuffing combines chorizo with ciabatta bread and sweet potatoes. Try Cooking and Beer's recipe to spice up Thanksgiving dinner!

Image Credit: Cooking and Beer

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Parmesan and Sage

Domesticate Me's sweet potato recipe is the ideal side dish for Thanksgiving dinner or brunch.

Image Credit: Domesticate Me

Homemade BBQ and Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips

Fork and Beans knows how to indulge a little without going overboard. You won't want to buy potato chips after trying these two homemade versions!

Image Credit: Fork and Beans

Crispy Herb Roasted Potatoes

It's great to have a roast potato recipe in your repertoire. Fork Knife Swoon's roast potatoes are a delicious version of the classic dish.

Image Credit: Fork Knife Swoon

Foolproof Homemade Potato Chips

A Happy Food Dance shows you how to make crunchy and salty potato chips with only three or four russet potatoes, water, vinegar, vegetable oil and salt.

Image Credit: A Happy Food Dance

Roasted Red Curry Potato Stack Salad

This gorgeous salad is ideal for a big dinner party. Beard + Bonnet uses curry roasted cashews and a cilantro, lime and coconut milk dressing for a burst of flavor.

Image Credit: Beard + Bonnet

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes

Your slow cooker can be a big help on Thanksgiving. The Magical Slow Cooker knows how to use it to make a simple dish. Just toss sweet potatoes and the topping of your choice into the appliance for an easy side!

Image Credit: The Magical Slow Cooker

Loaded Scalloped Potatoes

Melanie Makes has created a flavorful lasagna-like dish by layering potatoes with butter, bacon and cheese.

Image Credit: Melanie Makes

Two Potato Scallop

If you're looking for an alternative to yam or sweet potato casserole, be sure to try this creamy and buttery recipe from Garnish and Glaze.

Image Credit: Garnish and Glaze

Fully Loaded Twice Baked Potato Cups

Twice baked potatoes are such an amazing comfort food, which is why Oh, Bite It has made the dish even more adorable by preparing the potatoes in muffin cups!

Image Credit: Oh, Bite It

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Soup is one of the best things to enjoy when the weather gets colder. Organize Yourself Skinny created this hearty soup inspired by a loaded baked potato.

Image Credit: Organize Yourself Skinny

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Green Chiles

It takes just a few ingredients combined with herbs and spices to make Chef Laura at Home's healthy and spicy roasted sweet potato salad.

Image Credit: Chef Laura at Home

Sour Cream Dill Mashed Potatoes

Cooking With Elise shows how easy it is to prepare a traditionally creamy, fluffy and flavorful mashed potato side.

Image Credit: Cooking with Elise

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Looking for a healthy five-ingredient side dish? Delish Knowledge's sweet potatoes are roasted in an amazing buttery maple sauce—and this dish is just 100 calories per cup!

Image Credit: Delish Knowledge

Saucy Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Feta and Chipotle

You will never top potatoes the same way after trying out Drool-Worthy's incredible chicken-stuffed sweet potatoes.

Image Credit: Drool-Worthy

Aunt Ruthie Mashed Potatoes

These classic mashed potatoes are topped with cheddar cheese for an even more indulgent side dish by Melanie Makes.

Image Credit: Melanie Makes


The proposed class action seeks damages for consumers in New York and Washington, D.C., as well as packaging changes.

The plaintiffs pointed to a 2.75-ounce bag of Wise Ridgies Sour Cream and Onion chips that they said was filled to only 2.5 inches of its 10-inch capacity. They also said PepsiCo Inc's Frito-Lay division fills its Ruffles potato chip bags higher.

"Even if defendant's net weight disclosures are accurate, such does not eliminate this basic deception," the complaint said.

The lawsuit is one of many targeting alleged excess empty space known as "nonfunctional slack-fill."

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is not misleading for companies to leave such space atop packages to protect or ensure the proper sealing of contents, which may also settle during shipping.

In September, a federal judge in San Francisco approved StarKist Co's $12 million settlement over claims that its tuna cans contained less fish by weight than legally permitted.

The case is Alce et al v Wise Foods Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-02402.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler

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