Don’t Waste Your Money: Consumers complain about canned foods full of liquid

Posted at 7:29 PM, Jan 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-16 19:29:23-05

As a careful shopper, you try to get the most for your money. So once you get home and open canned foods, it can be disappointing to find lots of liquid. Consumer Reports has gotten a raft of complaints about that issue.

A common misconception is that the weight listed on the can is the weight of the food. But it’s not. Net weight also includes any liquid in the can. To get an idea of just how much liquid is in cans, Consumer Reports carefully drained and weighed the contents of 63 cans. There were cans of vegetables, chicken, and fruits.

So just how much food are you getting? The cans Consumer Reports measured averaged between 52 percent and 66 percent food. And the rest just went down the drain.

Consumer Reports combed through government regulations, and all the cans of food tested were within the guidelines. Manufacturers defend using water in cans. For example, General Mills, which packages Green Giant foods, said that it’s there to “keep the freshness of the product.”

Companies do seem to be trying to address consumers’ concerns. Chicken of the Sea has come out with a can of tuna that says, “No Drain. Just a little water.” And Green Giant sells vacuum-packed corn that it says holds the same amount of corn as their regular can but has a lot less water.

Sometimes companies do fail to meet federal standards for the amount of food in canned goods. Last summer, Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, and StarKist agreed to pay a total of more than $3 million to settle complaints that they put less tuna in their cans than required.