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Published on: 24-06-2019 Back


   What is the issue with dual food quality in different Member States?

 Consumers from a number of EU countries have complained that the composition of certain products,   such as soft drinks, coffee or fish fingers, is different in their home country when compared to products   sold under the same brand and with the same or very similar packaging in other Member States.   Comparative tests indicated that on the EU market there are products which are presented to       consumers in the same way but contain for example a different content of meat or fish, a greater fat   content or a different type of sweetener in some Member States than in others.

   That is why, in his 2017 State of the Union address, President Juncker committed to tackling this issue. 

Is it legal to market a product with the same or similar packaging with different ingredients?

Under EU law and Single Market principles, traders are free to differentiate their products for different markets. However, consumers cannot be misled by different products being presented to them as identical in the absence of legitimate and objective reasons.

The new provision on dual quality under the New Deal for Consumers clarifies that misleading consumers in respect to product composition may, following a case-by-case assessment by the competent authorities, be considered as an unfair commercial practice that is prohibited by EU law. At the same time, the new provision recognises that traders can adapt goods of the same brand for different geographical markets due to legitimate and objective factors.

Furthermore, ensuring that consumers are informed about product differentiations is also in the interest of the producers. Only when consumers are duly informed they can understand and value, when making their purchasing decisions, that products have been reformulated to be, for example, more healthy or to contain local ingredients.
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