The topic blew up in early 2017 when supermarkets were accused of offering lower quality products in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe.
Since then, the Hungarian government has been adamant about attacking the multinational companies and called for a scientific investigation. The European Commissioned instructed such an investigation to examine whether there really was a difference in quality based on geographical location: the inquiry has now ended, and its official findings have been released.
As hvg.hu reported,
the investigation concluded that there were no real differences in quality based on geographical location.
Even though the EU has drafted legislation intended to punish companies that mislead customers, apparently there is no real need for that as the JRC (research centre of the EU commission) investigation did not find products in Eastern Europe to be of lower quality. Scientists were given 1400 different products; each of these products collected multiple times from 19 EU countries.
As per leaks regarding the details of the investigation, these are the most important findings:
9% of products had a different composition but the same packaging
22% of products had a different composition with similar packaging
23% of products were exactly the same both in composition and in packaging
and 27% of products were different in both their composition and their packaging.
All in all, the outcry regarding the difference (and we do not know whether it is a positive or negative difference) between Eastern and Western European stocks on supermarket shelves affects only 9% of all products, which is an incredibly small amount. Scientists have already concluded:
There is no evidence for differences in the quality of products based on geographical location.