John Weekes

John Weekes is an NZME. News Service reporter based in Wellington.

Consumer Watchdog: Snax must be intact

Penelope Quin won't buy fractured crackers. Photo / Michael Craig
Penelope Quin won't buy fractured crackers. Photo / Michael Craig

The country has gone crackers over broken biscuits. Snax fanatics have taken to opening boxes in the supermarket, boycotts are under way, and cracks have appeared in at least one marriage as the mystery deepens.

In scenes reminiscent of last month's crumbly Weet-Bix affair, Herald on Sunday readers flooded us with emails after Glen Hunter's unusual experiment was reported last week.

Hunter was sick of buying boxes full of damaged Snax. So he painstakingly tried piecing together broken pieces from a box of crackers. The outcome of his 90-minute test was conclusive: the company must be putting broken crackers in boxes at the factory, he said.

Penelope Quin, from Manurewa, says she now opens Snax in the supermarket to check the salty wafers are intact.

"I've been buying Snax for years," she says. "It was only about three or four months ago that I started to notice a lot more broken ones."

Quin says retailers appear to have no worries about her inspecting Snax before she buys.

"If they do see me, they've never said anything. I'm quite open about it. There have been times I've bought boxes where there have only been a few broken. I've taken the broken box and paid for it."

Jill Walpole and Greg Sheehan wrote with similar suggestions.

Consumer NZ adviser Paul Doocey says it is hard to believe Griffins would "intentionally sabotage" its own product. And he is surprised to hear about Snax fans' in-store quality-control checks. "I don't think everyone has that sort of success. I can't imagine my local supermarket would do that."

Doocey says unhappy customers should complain about broken Snax to retailers, who in turn could take up the issue with Griffin's and query if the problem did start at the factory.

On one home front, Tim, no surname supplied, told us the frustration of broken Snax biccies had led to arguments with his wife, so, like Hunter, he has switched to imported crackers.

The Herald on Sunday emulated Hunter's test this week. A box of Snax bought from a downtown Auckland dairy had 64 complete crackers, two chipped ones, and nine fragments.

The fragments wouldn't match up, no matter how many combinations we tried.

Griffin's says it does not intentionally pack broken crackers.

"The Snax product is a little more susceptible than some other biscuit products to breaking," a company spokesman says. "It's the physical makeup of [the crackers]. They're looking at ways to reduce it."

Hunter is heartened to hear reader feedback supported his test. He is less impressed with Griffin's. "I thought it was a very weak response. They're definitely not being damaged in transit." He will boycott Griffin's until the company sorts out its "quality control" problems.


consumer@hos.co.nz

- Herald on Sunday

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