The “Empowering Consumer Organisations: towards a harmonised approach tackling dual quality in food products” (ECO) project is a European project funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC) of the DG Justice of the European Commission. This project aims at limiting dual quality practices in food and strengthening consumer organisations in the EU.
The project involves three partners based in 3 Member States :
- Associazione per la Difesa e l’Orientamento dei Consumator (Italy)
- SAFE – Safe Food Advocacy Europe (Belgium)
- InfoCons Association (Romania)
Watch the project’s video to learn more:
Dual quality in food products
“Dual quality is a practice in which companies use different recipes, formulations or standards for items sold under the same brand name and with very similar looking packaging”.
This practice can be found in every kind of product, but it is extremely present in foodstuffs. In the food sector, “dual quality” has been characterized by products sold under the same brand with identical or very similar packaging, but with different ingredients and quality depending on the European country where they were distributed. Under EU law and Single Market principles, companies that trade are free to differentiate their products for different markets according to local preferences for example. Nevertheless, consumers cannot be misled by different products being presented to them as identical in the absence of legitimate and objective reasons and this is what happens with “dual food quality” in some cases.
This one-year long project aims to create a structure based on consumer organisations and able to alert and provide the relevant authorities (at national and EU level) with a full and accurate assessment on dual food quality in the EU. By raising the awareness of the relevant authorities on this issue and by providing them with full and accurate information, our project will help to tackle this problem.
ECO’s project materials
The project developed harmonised training materials for consumer organisations to test food products and identify misleading branding strategies.
Common Online Platform
The ECO project created an online platform to report and share test results and misleading branding strategies, which is provided to consumer organisations. It aims at testing at least 500 products uploaded by a 18 consumer organisations across Europe.
Click here to check the Common Online Platform
Based on the harmonised testing methodology and the training materials created within the project development, ECO also aims at creating a certification system for companies to enable them to show their will to tackle dual food quality issues.
A European conference will be organised to present the results of the testing. Through this conference, the project aims to improve the advocacy of consumer organisations and to foster the cooperation between consumer organisations, competent authorities and relevant private players.
Follow the project on:
This project is co-funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality, and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020)