Skip to content
Media releases
10 March 2022

Plastic not so fantastic: Consumer NZ reveals top five worst packaging offenders

Complaints to Consumer NZ shows some consumers aren’t pleased with excess and convoluted packaging.

“Customers are getting increasingly frustrated with all the extra packaging. Why do you need plastic-covered vegetables? No-one understands the logic,” said Consumer NZ head of content Caitlin Cherry.

The packaging that irked the most people was Watties 3-pack mini cans of baked beans ($5). Despite being value for money at a cheaper price than purchasing three separate cans, the amount of plastic shrink-wrap around the cans has led to some customers boycotting the brand.

The second most complained item were individually wrapped electric toothbrush replacement heads. Each head usually comes with a double layer of moulded plastic inside a difficult to open outer box.

Some food items were also frustrating for customers to purchase. Verkerks Salami Protein Snack Pack ($4.89) showed six individually wrapped tear seal packets each with three small pieces of salami inside.

Further down in the meat section at the supermarket, fresh meat on pre-packaged plastic trays were a major source of frustration. Customers compared buying meat at a local butcher, where you forgo the tray for a simple, thin plastic bag or brown paper wrapping.

Finally, Pure’n Ezy removed corn’s natural packaging (its husks) and individually replaced them with a plastic vacuum seal that needed scissors to get into. Pure’n Ezy indeed.

In a global trial, 57% of New Zealand packaging assessed wasn’t recyclable in practice.

Recently, representatives of 175 countries at the UN Environment Assembly voted to draft a legally-binding treaty by 2024 to end plastic pollution. The treaty is expected to address plastic alternatives among other initiatives.

Consumer NZ believes business should consider simpler packaging that is environmentally friendly. Seen terrible packaging? Send it to [email protected]

Consumer NZ’s tips to reduce buying products with excess packaging:

  • Bring your own bag when you go shopping. You can find mesh fresh produce bags that you can weigh on the scale at the supermarket and can store your fruit and vegetables well at home.
  • Purchase dry food from the pick and mix section. Here you can purchase as much as you like of one food item, and it goes in one bag.
  • Visit your local butcher for meat and eliminate purchasing the plastic tray.