German biscuit producer Bahlsen has responded to pressure from Eastern European countries and unified its production standards across the continent.
The maker of Choco Leibniz has now replaced palm oil with butter in its biscuits, as prescribed by the original German recipe.
The news follows a recent study by the Czech Agriculture Ministry which revealed some foods sold with the same packaging and under the same brand may vary from one EU country to another.
Yesterday European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Slovakia and other Eastern European countries that they have the right to equal food quality and that the sale of lower quality products was ‘totally unacceptable’.
“I don’t like the idea that there would be some kind of second class citizens in Europe,” he said.
Some companies have claimed that the differences in ingredients respond to changes in consumer tastes in different countries.
Bahlsen said that its strategy has been to adapt its products to the requirements of each market, with some having different recipes, packaging and weight.
In a statement, the company said that as a result of globalisation there is an ever increasing expectation that products should ‘meet that same standards’ in all the markets they are sold.
It stated: “Bahlsen Poland, responsible for the entire market of Central and Eastern Europe, therefore decided to produce the Leibniz biscuits with the same recipe as in Western Europe.”
Critics are hopeful that other companies will follow suit. Nutella came under criticism earlier in the year after a study by the Hungarian food safety agency found that the chocolate spread in Hungary appeared to be ‘less creamy’ than the Austrian version.
However, the Ferrero-owned brand denied the claims. A spokesperson said: “We can reassure everyone that the Nutella sold in Hungary has the same high quality standards as Nutella sold in Western Europe.
“As a global company we have many factories in different countries around the world but we always guarantee the same care and quality everywhere.”
EU legislation does currently permit food companies to sell identically-branded products with different ingredients as long as they are clearly labelled.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020
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