Well Mark, that's an interesting and useful distinction you are making, because of course we don't know for how long a time and in what conditions these boxes of paper are being stored before they are shipped, then during transport from Europe to here, and then on the shelves of our distributors and retailers before we buy them. Nor do we really know (unless you do) the detailed chemical composition of the material the box is made from and therefore how it may or may not react with the top sheet of paper.
Now, when it comes to bean counting, I think it is really split-bean counting. You see, in the previous incarnation, there was no wrap on the outside of the box, but there was a plastic bag housing the paper inside the box. So what we're looking at is the financial trade-off between cellophane on the outside versus a thin poly-bag on the inside. Subtract the one from the other and you have what they may saving. Perhaps a cent or two on $140 product? In the circumstances, I can't believe there isn't some kind of other (i.e. less obviously stupid) reason why they made this change - because they can't be collectively that dumb. So a bit of a mystery they should clear-up by going back to packaging that works regardless of the storage time.
The other thing that's questionable about their packaging is that it has no edge protection. I've rejected whole boxes that have bumped corners, because you know the sheets inside will be damaged if the corners are bumped. When you feed a sheet with bumped corners into an Epson 4900 it spreads ink dots all over the neighbouring area of the paper. I wonder what % of stock gets returned for this reason.