9 March 2022

Top 5 ridiculously over-packaged products

How much packaging is too much packaging?

We’ve received so many complaints about over-packaged supermarket products. So we asked our supporters to tell us who the worst offenders are.

We’ve collated the entries and here are the winners, in reverse order: 

5. Pure’n Ezy Sweetcorn – Leaderbrand  

Individually vacuum-sealed corn cobs.

Pure’n Ezy is the name - ironically, it’s not its game.  

The company behind this have removed the corn’s natural packaging and replaced it with vacuum-sealed plastic that requires a pair of scissors to break into. Pure’n Ezy indeed.  

“Individually wrapped corn? Please make it stop.” – Claire  

4. Pre-packaged fresh meat on plastic trays 

Burger patties on plastic tray.

“Such wasteful use of plastic packaging goes against everything people are trying to do to reduce plastic waste. I complained to no avail.” – June 

“We always go to the local butcher instead, as you get your meat in a simple, thin, plastic bag. No tray.” – Graham

3. Verkerks Salami Protein Snack Pack  

Individually packaged slices of salami.

Surely only a meathead would appreciate these six packs of individually plastic-wrapped salami segments?  

“In each of these packs (which are more packaging than product), I could only see 3 small pieces of salami.” – Claire 

2. Electric toothbrush replacement brushes  

Replacement toothbrush head shown unpackaged.

An electric toothbrush may be the dentist’s recommended choice, but the double layer of plastic that comes with it is not. We’re still trying to think what the reasoning could be behind this one…  

“Not only are they hard to break open in the first place, but all the replacement heads are individually wrapped and sealed in hard plastic, and then they are all placed in a bigger hard plastic wrapping – such an overpackaged item and complete waste of space!” – Karen 

“Why we need a blister pack inside a blister pack is beyond me, and of course in NZ at least it just ends up in landfill.” – Irene

“The head is inside a small plastic and card package (all unrecyclable) - Stuck onto a piece of card with that soft hot glue-type adhesive (card is recyclable, glue isn’t) - Packaged in a plastic case (all unrecyclable).” – Paul

1. Watties 3-pack cans of baked beans  

Watties 3-pack of baked beans.

Three tins, held together by plastic. Why? No one knows. 

No, it’s not the most plastic – but it is the plastic that annoyed the most people (judging from the number of complaints we received about this shrink-wrapped trio). 

“The thing that bugs me the most is when you buy three tins of baked beans and they’re strapped together in shrink-wrapped plastic that is not only a nightmare to remove but cannot be good for our planet.” – Julie

“We can't see any good reason for the plastic-wrapped 3-packs of Watties baked beans. They are often on sale at a cheaper price per can than the individual cans, but I don't like to buy them because of the unnecessary plastic waste” – Ann 

“In this day and age this is gross insensitivity to environmental needs and aspirations. I’m all for the quantity discount being offered, but surely they could just apply it for every 3 cans on the docket? It would cost them less than what applying the plastic wrap does!” – Bob  

“We boycott Watties baked beans now because they are such a farce.  I want to push over the display stand when I walk past it but have restrained myself so far.” – Jeanie  

Have you seen a terrible example of overpackaging? Comment below or email us at feedback@consumer.org.nz.

Member comments

Get access to comment