Despite the single European market, there are still sizeable product differences depending on the European country. Several Eastern European countries now protest the lower quality products their customers get in comparison with Western Europe.
More water, less fish
The University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague discovered that many brand products differ in quality if you compare the Czech version with the German version. For instance, there is 7 % more water and less fish in Czechian Iglo fish sticks, while Sprite has more artificial sweeteners than its German counterpart, despite being more expensive.
Similar studies in other Eastern European countries (Slovakia and Hungary, which both compared with products available in Austria) yielded similar results. Manufacturers claim they are merely adapting their products to the local market and its preferences, but a survey among Czech consumers show that 77 % reject that “explanation”.
Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Czechia (the Visegrad countries) have made an official complaint with the European Council’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council, claiming that these alterations are misleading. However, it remains to be seen whether it can actually be solved, because the companies are not doing anything illegal and it seems both the food industry and European Commission are not in favour of new legislation, because the current legal framework would have to be altered significantly and extensively.