Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Won't Miss #273 - inconsistent labeling information

For reasons I'm sure have nothing to do with serving consumer interests, products in Japan are labeled in a highly inconsistent manner. If you look at the picture of a bin of carrots above, they are priced at 25 yen per 100 grams (3.5 oz.). Next to them are bags of potatoes which are 180 yen per bag. This shop is one that I shop at often, and usually carrots are priced per bag as well, but they play this game with the pricing when a particular product gets expensive. What is worse than this sort of thing is packaged foods, particularly drinks. Sometimes a drink's calorie information is given per 100 ml. Sometimes it is given for the entire bottle. Sometimes it is given per 200 ml. You have to be very careful to scrutinize nutrition information carefully when you buy food in Japan.

There is no consistent labeling among Japanese products either in terms of prices or nutritional content and I won't miss the way in which information is manipulated to mislead consumers who are not scrupulously attentive.