Consumer Reports: Food in the box doesn't look like food on the box

      Walking down the supermarket aisle, you see one mouthwatering photo after another. But how does the food look when you get it home?

      A lot of people have complained about the food not resembling the pretty pictures on the box. So Consumer Reports evaluated more than three dozen products.

      Some did appear as pictured. But testers found others whose photos didn't come near reality. For example, the package of Tabatchnick Tuscany Lentil Soup that shows pretty red and green vegetables. But where are they once you heat the soup?

      And the spaghetti and meatballs on the Banquet box do look appetizing. But the actual meatballs are smaller and the spaghetti is in pieces, not strands. The Barbecue Steak from Healthy Choice does look like what's shown on the package, but there's less than you would expect. And "lean" is right with the Lean Pockets Pretzel Bread Sandwiches. The picture on the box shows the chunky filling.

      But the pockets Consumer Reports bought were far from full! So what can you do when your food isn't picture-perfect?

      Consumer Reports suggests you complain to the company. The worst that can happen is maybe they will give you an apology. But the best that can happenyou get a free product.

      If you spot a product where the food doesn't measure up to the picture, let Consumer Reports know. You can e-mail the information to

      Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website. Subscribe to