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Old May 17th 2017, 9:02 pm   #1
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Default Same product, different food quality?

Thought I'd share this article on the different quality of food products that are supposedly the same between each counrty.
I was always under the impression that the Western members wanted to shop in the former communist states due to cost i.e. Austrians doing a border run to Sopron for a day!

Ex-communist states complain of rip-off food in EU - BBC News
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Old May 18th 2017, 12:49 pm   #2
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Default re: Same product, different food quality?

As a German "commuting" between Hungary and Germany I've had similar experiences - but there are several reasons for the disparities:

The German market is very competitive and the VAT for food and other basics is only 7% - so prices for the same products are of course much lower.
We've discussed this here often.

Tastes are different!
CocaCola e g is much sweeter in many countries and in Hungary it contains the infamous HFCS instead of sugar (just like in the USA).

So generally I would say (and my Hungarian wife totally agrees) that Hungarian stuff (produced here!) often has a lower quality - because it has to be sold cheap! People just wouldn't pay what Germans e g are willing to spend ...

The Hungarian government is trying to turn this into another campaign: everybody is against us ...
But of course that's silly.

Btw there are many really good products here which either are unavailable in Germany or twice as expensive - like paprika spice, the famous Piros Arany and meat, especially locally produced.
We regularly bring meat, especially chicken and eggs to Germany and in winter even several kilos of goose liver for our German friends ...
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Old May 18th 2017, 1:00 pm   #3
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Default re: Same product, different food quality?

Well I do know that the basic food stuffs produced here are a heck of a lot better than the equivalents produced / available in the UK.
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Old May 18th 2017, 2:05 pm   #4
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Default re: Same product, different food quality?

I also think that the stuff you get in the markets is ok, fresh and not too expensive.

But if you read that article by the BBC it's mainly about processed stuff "ready to eat", full of artificial aromas, sweeteners or salt etc.

My Hungarian wife e g would not eat Hungarian sausages like Parizsi or Felvagott etc - because they contain "everything but meat" she says.
But when I introduced her to Schwab sausages like Lyoner and Leberkäse and the "Wurstsalat" that I make from that she was really happy - so we bring several kilos of this each time we travel to Hungary. And whenever our Hungarian family visits us they get this Wurstsalat as a cold dish made by me - so my wife doesn't have to cook ...

Of course "real Hungarian" sausage like Kolbasz or Szalami is different - but also much more expensive. You're lucky if you get a kilo for 3000 HUF while the cheap Parizsi costs 1000 HUF ...
It's similar with cheese: A Trappista you get for 1000 HUF a kilo,but a good Pannonia or Karavan is 3000 per kilo again.
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Old May 18th 2017, 2:11 pm   #5
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Default re: Same product, different food quality?

I do not think it should always be a case of "My country's food is tastier and/or cheaper than your country's". I think it should be more of a case of adapting your taste buds and lifestyle and adjusting your attitudes towards stereotyping food.

In the UK for example, especially years back in my time, food that was from another country ("Foreign") that was not nice to taste and/or had a "bad smell" was classed by many ignorant English as "Foreign Muck". And there are probably a few of those English dinosaurs still in the UK who have probably never travelled outside of the UK before in order to taste a particular country's local foods.

For those that do travel the world and are willing to try other culture's food, will tell you it is not about the expense, quality, etc but more about adapting their taste buds. When I stay in Hungary I buy the local products and get used to the taste. The meat might be a bit fattier in Hungary, but in the UK I find many things more sugary for example. I buy cheaper baked beans in Hungary, not just because they are cheaper than Heinz baked beans, but because they taste the same. And a lot of cheaper foods and drinks are more or less the same (coffees and breads being examples); probably due to many of "momas secret recipes" not being a secret anymore!

Also, foods change over the years/decades. During the war many foods were only for the rich people (i.e. Spam meat) whereby in today's age many people can afford those foods. If you watch those travel/cookery programs on TV where they travel the world, you will see so-called "pauper's dishes" now being served in posh restaurants and eaten by the rich and vice versa with "posh foods".
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Old May 18th 2017, 3:03 pm   #6
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Default re: Same product, different food quality?

Yes, Szeged, we live in a global economy and can get and try food from all over the world - nobody forces us to eat stuff we don't want/like/enjoy (at least here in Europe).

A bit OT:
Mywife spent more than 40 years under Communist rule and after the Fall she of course didn't have the money to buy all that exotic stuff that was now available - from pineapples to whisky/whiskey.

In the ten years we've been together she tried everything - whether in Germany or on holiday in France, Italy, England, Spain or the USA and a lot of stuff from other parts of the world too.
She's become really addicted to Mediterranean food and other things she hadn't known like avocados ...

And she likes asparagus which is now produced in Hungary at a very good quality and available everywhere relatively cheap.

Just to imagine that she was already over 60 years old when she had these things the first time ...

PS and rather OT:
Sometimes this reminds me of the story of "Magyar narancs" from the famous film "The Witness"!
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Old May 18th 2017, 5:53 pm   #7
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Default Re: Same product, different food quality?

I mostly shop in Lidl, whether I'm in UK, Hungary or Croatia. I would think most of their own brand products are the same in every country. I do think fruit & veg are generally better quality in UK though. Meat tends to have a higher fat content in Hungary but I think that just reflects the preference of Hungarian shoppers. I have never figured out why fresh milk has a longer shelf life in Hungary than in UK.
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Old May 18th 2017, 7:30 pm   #8
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Default Re: Same product, different food quality?

I've often written about this - it's really interesting:

Many products in Lidl (or Aldi, Penny, Tesco ...) have the description in ten or even 20 languages - so to me it's obvious that they are manufactured somewhere for all of Europe - and even Israel and some Arab countries sometimes.
And I don't think that they produce different batches for different countries with different tastes ...

@Fidobsa:
Which "fresh milk" do you mean - ESL has a longer shelf life , of course not as long as UHT.
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Old May 18th 2017, 8:41 pm   #9
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Default Re: Same product, different food quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfi View Post
I've often written about this - it's really interesting:



@Fidobsa:
Which "fresh milk" do you mean - ESL has a longer shelf life , of course not as long as UHT.
Just the standard 1.5 or 2.8% fat milk you find in the chill cabinets in Lidl, Aldi, Tesco, Spar etc. It usually has a use by date about 2 weeks ahead when you buy it in Hungary. In UK they don't use the percentages but sell skimmed, semi skimmed or whole milk and the use by date is 4 or 5 days ahead.
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Old May 18th 2017, 9:54 pm   #10
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Default Re: Same product, different food quality?

The use by date is regulated by the regulations not the ability of the product to survive. When we made ice cream we had to put a use by date 6 months from manufacture, in fact in a domestic freezer the product would keep for a year or more.

There is a growing debate in the UK about the amount of food dumped because the use by date is up whereas in fact there is generally nothing wrong with it (given the storage was appropriate)

By the way when we buy milk from the local farm, providing it is chilled in his chiller and not our fridge (his chiller brings the temp down much quicker) then the milk will last nearly a week and this is without any treatment at all. But then his dairy hygiene is first class.
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Old May 19th 2017, 10:02 am   #11
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Default Re: Same product, different food quality?

Peter, afaik Germany and the EU are thinking about removing the "best before date" from some products - like sugar and rice ...

Here in Hungary we often buy stuff at 30% or even 50% discount just before the "best before date" - the same in Germany, usually without any problems thoufgh with some products you can taste (and smell ...) that they're no longer fresh ...

Our very old dog has to take some pills and she likes them with some "smelly sausage" eg - would be difficult to make her eat them otherwise.
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Old May 31st 2017, 8:27 pm   #12
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Default Re: Same product, different food quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fidobsa View Post
I mostly shop in Lidl, whether I'm in UK, Hungary or Croatia. I would think most of their own brand products are the same in every country. I do think fruit & veg are generally better quality in UK though. Meat tends to have a higher fat content in Hungary but I think that just reflects the preference of Hungarian shoppers. I have never figured out why fresh milk has a longer shelf life in Hungary than in UK.
Feel the same about milk. I believe that baked beans for example actually have a shelf life of 7 years but are only marked up for about 2.

Interesting or not fact. In Lidl the small German sausages are called Nurnbergers everywhere except in the UK where they are Bavarian Sausages.
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Old Sep 16th 2017, 3:15 pm   #13
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Default Re: Same product, different food quality?

The topic is being discussed on a high level again:
https://www.theguardian.com/inequali...eastern-europe
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Old Sep 20th 2017, 11:48 am   #14
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Default Re: Same product, different food quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vorsman View Post

Interesting or not fact. In Lidl the small German sausages are called Nurnbergers everywhere except in the UK where they are Bavarian Sausages.
I would think some of their sausages could not be sold in UK without altering the process slightly. Some of the packs I buy in Hungary contain a lot of water, which I have to drain off when I open them. I think UK regulations have very low limits for such "loose" water content. The government was trying to outlaw the practice of bulking out underweight products by adding water.
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Old Sep 20th 2017, 12:54 pm   #15
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Default Re: Same product, different food quality?

Actually these sausages may only be called Nürnberger if they are made in Nürnberg - similar ot other stuff like Feta cheese from Greece or Parmeggiano or Serrano ham etc ...
While other products like Frankfurter sausages or Emmental cheese have lost their "geography" and could be made evrywhere - there always are fights going on in the EU re those rules ...
I'm wondering how Britain will handle this once Brexit is reality ...
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