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A third of EU countries have same food brand, but different contents, says report

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By Euronews with Reuters
A third of EU countries have same food brand, but different contents, says report

You might wonder why drinking a Coca-Cola in the UK doesn't taste quite the same as drinking it elsewhere in Europe.

The EU has found almost a third of branded food products sold in the European Union have the same, or similar labelling, but different contents.

Countries in Eastern Europe had in the past complained that big brands sell lower quality food in their markets. However, a European Commission report released on Monday said it did not find an apparent difference in eastern and western countries.

Hungarian commissioner Tibor Navracsics said he was happy that there was no evidence of an east-west divide, but described the findings as “mixed”.

“I am worried that they uncovered up to one third of tested products having different compositions while being identically or similarly branded,” he said in a statement.

The study into nearly 1,400 samples of 128 food products in 19 EU countries found that 9% of products had identical and 22% similar label fronts, but different contents.


Cheese spread Almette looked similar in packaging.

European Commission
Almette cheese spread across EuropeEuropean CommissionDavies, Pascale

But was found to have added ingredients such skimmed milk powder in the Czech Republic and Lithuania, which it did not have in Germany.

European Commission
Almette ingredientsEuropean Commission

Almette, which is produced by Hochland subsidiaries, said it attaches great importance to a uniformly high-quality standard food in all subsidiaries and all countries and that to respect local consumer habits and requirements, there are independent recipes for the different markets.

Similar differences were found in the Coca-Cola brand, Fanta.

European Commission
European Commission

Brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Birds Eye, Persil, and Ariel have refuted claims they sell lower quality goods in other parts of Europe with an identical brand.

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker made the dual food standards an issue in 2017.

On Monday, the Commission said it would provide 1.26 million euros of funding to help countries prepare for a new law to increase cooperation between EU countries on consumer protection, which will come into action in January 2020.