European Integration - Realities and Perspectives. Proceedings 2020
Foodstuffs Double Standard
Abstract: This paper aims at emphasizing a r ecent phenomenon which is the double standard applied to
foodstuffs on the market in Eastern Europe. The sa me producer produces and sells a trade mark to consumers
from both Western and Eastern Europe. The only problem is that the quality standard of one product, is not
the same, for the eastern and western consumers. This study rhetorically asks the question: are consumers in
Western Europe better than the ones in Eastern Europe? Scope and approach: The study is based on
information and some commentaries from a series of publications which pointed out the double standard
applied to foodstuffs in the countries in Eastern Europe. If for Romania there is some data related to labeling
and declared energetic value, in the case of Hungary and Slovakia we find out the products, the producers, the
trading companies as well as the differences in organoleptic attributes (taste, smell, colour, packaging or
structure). Key findings and conclusions: We highlight the products which p resent double standards by means
of energetic value, quantity, structure or main organoleptic attributes. It is essential to understand whether
“the double standard applied to foodstuffs traded in Eastern Europe is useful. Does it help in any way the 100
Keywords: “food apartheid”; foodstuffs “higher-quality”; communist food nostalgias
JEL Classification: D18; I12; L66; P46
There is a firm that processes and sells cofee under the same trademark, in two different countries. The
packaging is identical but the coffee sold in country 2 has less caffeine than the one sold in country 1.
(Today are known the following most common methods of falsification of natural ground coffee:
assortment falsification that is coffee substitution by various coffee substitutes, qualitative
falsification, quantitative falsification, informational falsification (Chorna, et all., 2018). The same
applies to fish fingers, which have the same packaging but there is less fish in the product sold in
country 2. The most outrageous of all examples is baby food which not only does it have different
contents, but it can also be 35% more expensive in country 2. Peanut chocolate is no exception since
certain firms produce and sell chocolate which contains a lot less peanuts in country 2. Is it a
coincidence that country 2 in the EU was behind the “Iron Curtain” before 1989?
If initially it seemed to be a major piece of news on the consumption of food produced in Western
Europe and sold in the eastern part at a lower quality, two years later there is no comment on this
phenomenon. Even the reports informing consumers on the studies carried out by the responsible
authorities in different countries including Romania have been short and inconclusive. Can we be the
witnesses of a differentiation such as “food apartheid”? (2 Euroactiv 2017).
1 Senior Lecturer, PhD, Danubius Universit y of Galati, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Romania, Address: 3 Galati Blvd,
Galati, Romania, Tel.: +40372 361 102, Fax.: +40372 361 290, Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org.