How they compare?
Five countries – Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – have carried out extensive comparative tests in recent months. This is a selection of their findings:
Slovenia v Austria Coca-Cola Result: Found fructo-gluco syrup and 11.2g of sugar in bottle of Coke in Slovenia, compared to 10.6g of sugar in Austria.
Response: “We occasionally slightly adapt our beverages to meet local consumer tastes and preferences, to source local ingredients or to follow local regulation. Our commitment to serving beverages that are high quality, affordable and taste great is unwavering.”
Spar own-brand strawberry yoghurt Result: Tests found 40% less strawberry in product sold in Slovenia. Response: “The tastes and consumer wishes are different in each country and we try to fulfil consumer wishes.”
Result: No notable differences found in laboratory tests, although an additional additive was found in bars sold in Slovenia. Sensory tests suggested bars sold in Slovenia were darker, less intense, sweet and creamy.
Response: The company denies there are any differences in its bars.
Hungary v Austria Cornetto ice cream
Result: The two products are sold under different names, but packaging is similar. In Austria it was found to be made with sunflower oil, in Hungary it contained palm oil. Austrian product’s wafers were found to be crispier and the ice cream more yellow.
Response: Unilever said the two Cornettos were different products, adding: “Products that are marketed under similar brand names but with different appearances and as different sub-brands may show some variance; however these are differences of composition and ingredient profile, not of quality.”
Slovakia v Austria Birds Eye fish fingers (sold as Iglo in Europe)
Result: Tests found 58% content of fish meat in product in Slovakia, compared with 65% in Austria.
Response: Company said its recipes for fish fingers were adapted to local tastes but they were all made in Germany, including those sold in the UK. Daniel Boffey