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Metric Culprits

Express Dairies - metric conversion to downsize milk? You decide

Following BWMA's exposure of shrinking containers, milk producer Express Dairy requested that BWMA remove references to its product from this website. Obviously, BWMA is under no obligation to do this. So long as the information presented is accurate, it is not infringing.

However, for purposes of balance, we present Express Dairy's defence together with our evidence of downsizing. Please study the facts presented and cast your verdict in the poll at the foot of the page. Is Express Dairy guilty of metric downsizing?

1) Case for the prosecution - BWMA evidence
The photograph below shows Express Dairies 4-pint and 2-litre containers. Note that the quantity indications are wrapped around the side of the container rather than being visible to the front. The containers are also the same height and width; the difference in shape is that the metric container is slightly narrower to the top, but this is not immediately apparent to any observer.
4-pint and 2-litre
Here is the label of an Express Dairy 1-pint container...
1 pint
...and here is the 500ml label.
It is important to note that the metric versions do not display quantity in pints. The 2-litre container makes no declaration that it contains 3½ pints, and the 500ml container does not state "0.88 pint".

The failure to supply such information prevents consumers from making comparisons with milk sold in pints by competitors. The consumer has no immediate way of telling whether "2 litres" is equal, more or less than 4 pints, or how 500ml compares to one pint.

Express Dairies can therefore sell metric containers at a lower price - while still charging the same price per unit. The consequence of this is that Express Dairies can increase its market share.

2) The Case for the defence - a letter from Express Dairies
Express Dairies Plc
Leicester LE3 2TP

Dear Sirs

Although we have no issue with your campaign, the information contained on your website in respect of your product labels is misleading and inaccurate in the following respects.

i) Express packages milk in both metric and imperial connotations to offer choice to our customers and in turn the customer. We have not replaced imperial sizes with the metric equivalent.

ii) Express sells, to its customers, milk at a price which reflects the volume sold - contrary to the suggestion on your website. There is certainly no financial gain for Express in supplying both metric and imperial sizes.

We are concerned that your website is, therefore, factually incorrect and misleading. We request that all details and images of our labels are removed from your website. Although we do not have any objection to the use of factual information, provided that it is not used in a defamatory manner, we are concerned that your website is misleading.

It implies that Express is taking advantage of the legal requirement to specify metric measurements by increasing the price to the consumer when this is clearly not the case.

Yours faithfully,

Head of Legal, etc

Please consider carefully the above submissions, and cast your verdict:

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