People 'Fuming' After Learning Meaning Of Secret ‘e’ Symbol On Food Products

Found on lots of products, shoppers have realised what the 'secret' symbol really means...

Written byBen Hayward
Published on
Read time4 min read

If you’ve ever noticed the ‘e’ symbol that appears on various items in your supermarket shop and then never thought anything more about it, you could be in for a shock…

Shoppers have reportedly been left ‘fuming’ after discovering the meaning of the mysterious symbol, fearing it means they’re getting overcharged for what they’ve bought.

One woman made the discovery after conducting her own experiment in which she bought a packet of crisps from an Australian Aldi store. According to the weight marked on the bag, the item was supposed to be 230g, but after weighing it she found that there were only 139g of crisps inside.


Sharing her findings on Facebook, the Mirror reports, the disgruntled customer, from Canberra, Australia, posted a photo and wrote: "How is this okay at all? [We] try to save money by buying from Aldi, but we don't even get the amount on the packet!”

She continued: "More than two-thirds of the packet was air - hence why I decided to check it... I put the whole bag with chips in it on the scales first and it was 157g.”

After weighing the crisps out of the packet, she was shocked to see they weighed 139g rather than 230g that was advertised.

It wasn’t long before Facebook users had piled into the comments, expressing their shock that there were so few crisps in the bag before one person pointed out that the 'e' on the bag indicates that the volume or weight of the product is actually an ‘average value’.

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According to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, the Average Quantity System (AQS) shouldn't have this much of a discrepancy. The website states: "The AQS is an internationally agreed method of determining the size or quantity of pre-packed articles with a 'constant nominal content'. This means it provides confirmation of the measurement or quantity of goods in the package, being sold by measure (weight, volume, length, area or number).”

It then states that ‘no pre-packaged article can have a shortfall greater than 5% of the stated quantity’.

So, do the same rules apply here in the UK? Well, according to EU regulations, prepackaged (or prepacked) products sold in any EU country must provide information on the package specifying the nominal quantity (weight or volume) of their contents, as stated by the official European Union website. They explain that the 'e' mark when placed next to the nominal quantity, ‘shows that you have complied with the relevant European laws’.

“But what about Brexit and taking back control of our food packaging? This is a classic case of unelected foreign bureaucrats interfering,” you may well be thinking. Well, although the 'e' mark is no longer required on products in the UK, it is still used voluntarily.

The UK government website states: "The ‘e’ mark, when placed on a package, is a declaration by the packer that the contents comply with the average system. There is no requirement for packages to be labelled with the ‘e’ mark. The Regulations prohibit its use on packages that do not meet certain criteria.

"From 1 January 2021 the UK will continue to recognise the voluntary use of the ‘e’ mark to denote compliance with the average system of quantity control for packaged goods.”

Aldi did not wish to comment when approached by the Manchester Evening News.

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