Some of Britain's major supermarket chains are facing the wrath of the Trading Standards Institute, it has emerged, following reports that their own-brand bags of fresh air are being half filled with crisps in order to bulk out the packaging.
According to a Trading Standard preliminary report, supermarkets are using this tactic to make the packets look fuller: 'The consumer thinks she's getting good value for money,' wrote one investigator, 'but in reality what they think is a family size bag of air mainly consists of a fried potato snack.'
Retail giant Sainburys is one of the companies under fire, with their premium bags of Sandbanks Sea Air consisting of up to 50% sea salt and malt vinegar crisps and their Atmosphere of Kobe Beef Grazing Pasture being in the main a staggering 70% Fillet Steak crinkle cut potato chips. Rivals Asda are also on the defensive, after their budget Bugger-All and Sweet F.A packs were found to contain over 30g of scampi and bacon flavour fries respectively.
Trading standards have urged supermarkets to follow the lead of the household names of such as Walkers, whose snacks contain a ratio of 10% crisp to 90% fresh air - the 10% being the minimum industry standard amount of fried potato ballast needed to stop the bags being blown off the shelves.
However the supermarkets have hit back at these allegations, with one industry spokesman calling for the air/crisp ratio to be reviewed. 'Our packaging needs to be not only foil-lined to keep our air fresh, but also has to be fully biodegradable. The material we use to achieve this is far lighter than that used to make standard packets, and therefore needs to be weighed down by a greater proportion of salty snack treats. If Trading Standards wants to dispute this, then we are more than happy to take them on in the courts, unless the case amicably settles in transit.'