Frito-Lay Employee Leaks the Truth Behind All That Air in Chip Bags

The issue of extra air in bags of chips might be the most prominent "scam" people associate with the food industry. However, a Frito-Lay employee explained on TikTok why the controversy might be unwarranted. In a now-deleted video, merchandiser Selena Aragon, who uses the handle @selenaaragon7, clarified why bags of chips have "air" in them. One misunderstanding she resolves is that nitrogen is actually injected into the bags rather than just "air," Distractify reported.

Due to this gas, the chips remain fresh for extended periods. The negative space in the bag also serves a dual function since by leaving it, the chips have some room to "settle" during transit, which is crucial. The snacks also need an extra layer of cushioning when they're packed and shipped out to stores. Although Frito-Lay is not "trying to scam" people by placing not fully filled bags on shelves, Aragon said she sends more full bags to store shelves.

According to Aragon, overfilled bags are even considered defective because they do not have sufficient room to move around, and their contents get knocked around during transit, causing the product to have more broken pieces. Although there may be more chips inside, they are measured and sold by weight, not necessarily the physical dimensions of the bag content. Aragon noted in the video's comments that she appreciates an overpacked bag of Cheetos, but it isn't ideal for shipping purposes. Aragon definitively says on her TikTok account, "Frito-Lay is not trying to scam you. They tell you how much chips you're getting when you buy the bag." Despite Frito Lay's good intentions in keeping their chips crisp, Insider says there is a less innocent side to the empty-bag controversy — "slackfilling."

"Slack-fill" is the name for the empty part of food packaging. Consumers have found it in various products, from packs of candy and noodles to bottles of laundry detergent, as well as makeup, and consumer advocates have even argued that it is used to deceive shoppers in some cases. The FDA defines slack-filling as the difference between the actual capacity of a container and the product level it contains. Slack-filling can sometimes be functional, which makes it legal. Slack-filling is sometimes required to protect the container's contents or ensure the packaging is large enough to accommodate the required food labeling. Sometimes, this needs to be done during manufacturing as well.

In addition, slack-fill can also be devoid of any practical use, which means that if customers can't see the contents before they make a purchase, it can be viewed as misleading, the FDA warns."We buy with our eyes – we're influenced by the size of the package," Ed Dworsky, the head of the consumer-advocacy website Consumer World, told Insider. A "natural inclination" of people, when they see large packages, is to assume that the contents are as well, he explained. As Dworsky suggested to the outlet, some brands use slack-fill packaging to intentionally mislead consumers into believing they receive more product than in reality.

Shrinkflation is another method that involves reducing product quantities without lowering prices. Doritos, for example, dropped from 9.75 ounces per bag to 9.25. In recent years, has been following the trend of manufacturers down-sizing popular consumer products – such as Dawn dish soap, Lay's potato chips, Walmart brand paper towels, etc.