Multinationals accused of selling inferior food products to Hungarians

It cannot be a coincidence that Magyar Idők, the mouthpiece of the Orbán government, only now discovered a three-year-old study about the alleged poor quality of imported food from Western Europe. Just as it cannot be a coincidence that the following day János Lázár called the incident “the greatest scandal of the coming years.” Another battle against Brussels seems to be setting up. The charge is that allegedly identical products sold in East European countries are inferior to those sold in Western Europe. A few days ago the Slovak Ministry of Agriculture came out with this piece of news based on comparisons of products sold to Slovakia with products sold to Austria.

Upon inquiry, Magyar Idők learned that the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture had done a similar test and that their findings were practically identical to the Slovak results. Since one must be extremely careful with Magyar Idők’s wording, let me quote the passage. It was in 2014 that “The Nemzeti Élelmiszerlánc-biztonsági Hivatal [Nébih] compared 24 identical or very similar products on the basis of their sensory qualities and their composition and description.” I don’t think a comparison can be scientific if the testers compared not only identical products but “very similar products” and if they relied on the products’ “sensory qualities.” But let’s go on. They found that all the chocolate tested was of equal quality, but in products with wafers the Austrian variety was crisper. Again, one doesn’t have to be an expert on the consistency of food products to know that age and atmospheric differences might make the wafer soggy. Nutella’s hazelnut cream, according to Nébih, was less soft than the one Austrians got. And although a certain chocolate bar filled with marzipan had exactly the same ingredients, the chocolate melted more slowly than the one in Austria did. The complaints went on and on. Even Hungarian Coke was found to be inferior to the Coke sold in Austria. Magyar Idők summed up the sad situation in Hungary with a caption under a picture of a woman looking intently at grocery store shelves: “Often in vain does a domestic shopper search, she can’t find Western quality on the shelves.”

Coca-Cola HBC promptly explained the difference in taste between the Coke sold in Austria and that sold in Hungary. In Hungary the company uses, just as it does in the United States, high fructose corn syrup, in this case made from Hungarian corn. In some other countries Coca-Cola uses sugar because of local regulations. The sugar Austria uses in its Coke may make an appreciable difference in taste. According to a Huffington Post article, 85% of people could tell the difference between regular American Coke and Mexican Coke, which still uses sugar. Moreover, 80% of them preferred the Mexican variety.

Company after company denied the existence of double standards. In the case of the Manner wafers, the company spokesman cited possible differences in transportation and storage. Some of Nestlé’s products were among the samples tested. Its spokesman pointed out that Nesquick OptiStart is actually made in Hungary and supplied from there to 17 countries, while two other Nestlé products are produced in Spain and in France. All from the same recipe. Knorr didn’t offer any explanation, but according to Zoltán Fekete, secretary general of the Magyar Márkaszövetség (Hungarian Brand Association), it is likely that Néhib was comparing apples and oranges because even the amounts of the products tested were different.

Regardless of the merits of this test, which sounds haphazard at best, the government finds it useful. There are few subjects that can arouse a Hungarian more than stories about the inferior quality of food grown and processed elsewhere. Farmers and their representatives in particular like to call all food coming from abroad “garbage.”

The claim that Hungarians are being fed Western “garbage” will turn the people against Brussels and multinational companies. Fidesz politicians add fuel to the fire when, for example, Lajos Kósa tells Hungarians: “I find this affair deeply humiliating, outrageous, and intolerable. This cannot be explained by differences in consumer taste. They bring their junk here because it is good enough for you.”

Perhaps the government is frustrated that after years of propaganda against the European Union Hungarians still overwhelmingly support Hungary’s EU membership. So now as a result of what some people call an urban legend, Agricultural Minister Sándor Fazekas, one of the least illustrious ministers in the Orbán government, ordered an all-encompassing test of 100 products. Testing has already begun. Even an opposition party, Együtt, fell for the “garbage” propaganda.

Instead of getting entrapped in all that hyperbole, let’s turn to an expert whose opinions I think we can rely on. György Raskó was a member of parliament (Magyar Demokrata Forum and later Magyar Demokrata Néppárt) between 1994 and 1998. He is an economist with a specialty in agro marketing and, together with his wife, runs a large modern farm. He is a real expert on anything to do with agriculture. I might add that he speaks English, French, German, and Spanish with such fluency that he can conduct high level negotiations in all four languages.

According to Raskó, different standards are applied to foodstuff in different countries, and the international companies have to be in compliance with these rules. In some places, for example, beet sugar must be used; in others only glucose-fructose syrup can be used. There are, of course, other considerations as well. Supermarket chains order products they can sell. It is a well-known fact that for Hungarians price is a prime consideration, given the low wages in the country. Therefore, the chains order cheaper products in the first place. The high-quality products are also available, but they don’t dominate the market because they are too expensive for most people.

One mustn’t forget that the Hungarian exporters are “biased” too. While Hungarians send their Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos to Great Britain and the United States, the 4 or 5 Puttonyos go to Poland. As far as cold cuts are concerned, two-thirds of the kinds available in Hungary are not allowed to be marketed in Austria or Italy. Interestingly, the government which is so fussy about the quality of Hungarian food products allows certain ingredients in hot dogs and bologna that are not permitted in, let’s say, Austria.

I have no idea what will come of all this. It is possible that the Visegrád 4 will complain about their inferior food imports in Brussels. Since the government-inspired food scandal broke out in Hungary, the Czech government also discovered that the Germans and others are sending them “garbage” instead of food. The Hungarian media reported that the Visegrád 4 countries discussed the matter already at their last meeting.

One possibility, which an expert who was not ready to reveal his name suggested, is that the Hungarian government will try to exclude some western processed foods from the Hungarian market. Considering that domestic products are often more expensive than imported ones, such a move would only penalize the hard-up Hungarian consumers.

February 21, 2017
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Guest
I rarely shop at Prima stores, since they are run by the Orbán mafia elite. But a few weeks ago, when the weather was so bad that it was dangerous to use my car, I went to a local Prima store, where I bought an expensive pre-packed cut of steak. I opened the pack the same evening, and began sizzling it, but noticed an unusaul sour smell, which I thought might be the packaging, and would go away once it was cooked. My family, who never turn down steak, refused to eat it, saying it tasted off. The pack had gone straight from the shop to my fridge, and had several days to go before the sell-by date and had been opened immediately. There was no excuse. I thought, just my luck – once in a blue moon I get something at a Fidesz shop, and it is rubbish, presented in pretentious packaging at a steak counter set up like a religious shrine to meat, to look exclusive. Typical of all things pretentious-all show and no substance. Nowhere have I bought such strange smelling meat. I was not about to go out in the freezing cold again to return the… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Hungarian steak? Pre-packaged??
Are you kidding me?
Hungarians wouldn’t know how to butcher beef for a steak if their life depended on it!
Moreover, in typical Hungarian fashion, Hungarian butchers don’t trim the steak. (God forbid that they should cut off some of their profit at the expense of being fair to the customer.)
Anyway, if you want a chewy, good time…just by Hungarian
beef…but NEVER pre-packaged!

webber
Guest

Believe it or not, there is good Hungarian steak now – prepackaged, being sold under the name “Regnum”. I don’t know about the rest of the production line, but the cattle (angus) are raised by a Canadian firm in S. Hungary.

Guest

to Petofi
This was Hungarian beef! That was my point.
and it only came in packages in the blingish meat section of the blingish pretentious nationalist Prima shop.
Proudly displayed superior Hungarian beef, at inflated prices, which was so inedible I fed it to a dog.

Mario
Guest

Poor doggie…

webber
Guest

Yes, there is still mostly lousy beef – but I’m telling you, you can finally get decent beef in Hungary now. Interspar has it, anyway.

Mario
Guest

You only look at carts in supermarkets in Hungary and it takes a second to realize that multinationals may be exporting second or even third class products to Hungary, and generally Eastern Europe, but that goes together with local people’s propension for it. Carts appear full of junk, mostly very cheap and very unhealthy highly proteic and highly fat meats and cheeses, little if nothing of green vegetables and fruit. Not mentioning the beer, the strong alcohols etc… I also lived in Prague, and there also multinationals use double standards. The difference is that the concept of eating healthy has not reached Hungary yet.

webber
Guest

Unfortunately products sold in Hungary are inferior quality. Anyone who has compared identical things sold in Budapest and Vienna can attest to the difference. I kind of suspect that it’s because Hungarians are “price sensitive” (actually poor), meaning the majority of them can’t afford better products, so intl. corporations package cheaper stuff for Hungarians (and Slovaks, etc.)

pappp
Guest
I agree. And there is more to it. The very same producers often prepare products to be sold in Aldi or Lidl discount retail chains which products instead of the let’s say regular 200g packages (which you can buy in let’s say Spar retain chain, which have higher prices) have only a 185 g size. Moreover such Aldi/Lidl distributed product would have let’s say 45% cocoa butter content instead of a 53% in the version sold in Spar. So at first look it looks as if the Unilever produced chocolate bar or whatever is cheaper by 15% in Aldi when in fact it’s the exact same price if one adjusts for price and quality. The bottom line is that Hungarians are first and foremost sensitive to price when making the shopping decision (despite claims that they prefer Hungarian products etc. – although re some categories such as wine Hungarians are actually ready to pay a higher price for a Hungarian produced wine) and producers will behave taking that into account. In addition, there is a price inflation at the raw material level, which producers aren’t always able to realize by increasing retail prices. Producers tend to rather cut sizes because… Read more »
Guest

They do the same in Germany so we have a competition there:

Every year some products are entered for “this year’s most abominablecheater’s package” – like reducing mass of product in an identical package, designing an extra large package that suggests more contents etc.
You won’t believe what kind of ideas marketing people have!

In Hungary last year breweries introduced .4l beer bottles – which really look very similar to the regular .5 l bottles …
So if you just look at the price per bottle …

On the other hand afaik it’s a EU rule (that bloody EU again – takes out all the fun of cheating!) that you always have to show the price per kilo or per liter – but stupid/lazy people won’t look at that of course …

Guest

My experience is that supermarket and discount shops in my Western country sell just as much uneatable garbage as such shops do in Hungary. Ever increasing amounts of sugar are added to all products. Pepper fruits are getting sweeter by the year, exactly as they are in Hungary. Marinated herring of all brands contain as much sugar as strawberry jam. Salt, however, is being reduced because it is considered poisonous.

The production of meat and poultry in my country is industrialized to the highest pitch, and the products have no taste. This has not yet been achieved in Hungary. Meat and poultry in Hungary still has retained some taste. Enjoy it as long as it lasts.

Guest

To Webber

I do most of my shopping at Lidl, where the products are almost always of a very high standard and at really low prices.
And the service is much more courteous than at other supermarkets.

In the UK, LIDL seems to have a reputation for being the lowest of the low, but in Bpest it is the best quality and has really interesting selection of things not found elsewhere.

I often see diplomatic licence plate cars, and many of the expat community I am in touch with, also shop there, rather than at Hungarian owned stores.
Same goes for Tescos, and that is probably why the latest hate campaign by Fidesz.

Ferenc
Guest

Agree about Lidl, same good quality all over Europe, with high quality/price rating. The thing which is very obvious in their shops is that they work with young people only (probably for reasons of lower wages).
For Tesco, I can’t agree at all. I only had experience in Hungary in the past, and the quality there is way under that of that of Lidl.

webber
Guest

Hungarian Tesco – quality not the best, I am afraid. Meat is awful there. They have some good stuff under their own quality brand. Otherwise, kind of hit and miss.
Lidl (and Aldi) – best fruits, I think. Meat acceptable. Milk products not so good. They actually pay their cashiers much more than most other stores. They also expect them to be as polite and move as quickly as cashiers in Western countries.

Mario
Guest

I do not intend to seem too harsh but I believe that without a significant cultural change from the average Hungarian consumer we cannot expect multinationals, whose only interest focuses upon maximum gain against minimum costs, to export quality food to Hungary. People get what they want to get. I know that it also has to do with limited spending power, but that does not explain all. If the average Hungarian has such a low life expectancy this cannot be blamed solely on the multinationals, it has to do with eating ( and drinking.. ) habits in general and not only with the quality of the food. Hungarian government should campaign for its citizens to consume more fruit ( possibly local apples, not only shining yellow bananas and pineapples from faraway countries ) and more vegetables and less processed meat and industrial cheese.

petofi
Guest

Your so silly, Mario!
What gives you the idea that the government want the people to live a day past their retirment age???
It doesn’t.
As with most things, the Hungaricoes have probably adopted the Russian approach to retirees: they look at the average age of pensioners and begin pensions one year past it. So smart, those Russkies…

wrfree
Guest

Re: the EU and their ‘food’

Surprised if it wasn’t a full out charge of poisoning and ridding Europe of the ‘troublemakers’.

A look at a future prandial activities in Magyarorszag:

Cut the vaj, cut the zsir, cut the hus…😎
It just might free up the clogged arteries and enable some lives-saving blood to develop clear-thinking cerebellums in decision-makers.

Guest

This is no surprise. The standard of living in HU is much lower than in western European countries. You can indeed expect multinational companies will sell inferior products to maintain what they consider an acceptable profit margin but I shall add that I find a lot of Hungarian products to be of poor quality too. Again, the purchase power of the average Hungarian is what it is. And when it comes to Hungarian wine, while you can find good bottles at a decent price, the top quality production is simply overpriced.

What strikes me the most when shopping in Hungary is that many foreign and even local products such as chocolate bars, fruit juices in small Tetra Pak bricks, etc, are sold individually whereas you can only buy them in bulk of 3, 4 or more in western Europe – but again, the purchase power in Hungary is fairly low.

Member

How long before Soros gets implicated in the plot to poison Hungarians so they’ll die and he can steal their fortunes? Preposterous, you say? Ask Erik Banki, who just raised the possibility that “interests close to Los Angeles” are financing Momentum in bid to thwart Hungary’s competiting bid to host the 2024 Olympics.
For what it’s worth, Cubans export their lower-quality cigars to eastern Europe as well.

webber
Guest

🙂 I think Matolcsy’s latest ravings about some foreigner trying to start a run on the National Bank with the help of the embassy of an unnamed NATO-ally (wink wink, nudge nudge) suggest that Soros is going to get hit heavily soon.

pappp
Guest

The Coca-Cola story would be worth an entire post given the fact that HFCS is produced in Hungary (which is one of the biggest producers in Europe) by a company whose main shareholder is ardently pro-Fidesz.

In fact an increase of the HFCS production capacities has been decided by the government , ie from taxpayer money, but benefiting the private company – and of course a huge chink of said state grant will be paid as a kickback back into Fidesz coffers.

The word is Coca Cola (its regional bottling company which is separate from the Atlanta-based holder of the brand rights) will build a plant adjacent to this new production facility somewhere along the river Tisza.

Poor Hungarians and CEE citizens will be drinking the very unhealthy corn syrup instead of sugar (which is also unhealthy but high fructose corny syrup is almost a poison).

Ferenc
Guest

Can you explain (or direct to a source, which explains) why that HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is as bad as you write?

As a side-note: here in Western-Europe producers and consumer-organisations (so without the government) agreed to slowly reduce the sugar content and sweetness of food (mainly drinks).
Don’t think there is any such thing going on in Hungary (and Centra-Eastern Europe).

Guest

Food producers are sugar pushers. As long as they register an increased sale when they have added more sugar to at product they will make a new increment. Not only in Hungary.

Now you can only buy intolerably sweet corn. Sad.

LwiiH
Guest

The problems with HFCS and obesity are very well documented. A quick google search will yield plenty of high quality studies on the subject.

Ferenc
Guest

OT
Just noticed (again) that two other English sites bringing Hungarian news (Budapest Beacon and Budapest Sentinel) are not working.
Anybody know what’s going on there???

bimbi
Guest

” Ferenc, 3:47 a.m.

If you are suspicious, I fully agree with you. This is not good news at all.

Ferenc
Guest
This the pathetic OV/Fidesz mantra against against everything not Hungarian. About food it’s basicaly very simple, look at the package in which languages the product is explained and you know where it is sold. For multi-nationals Hungary is near the border in which they have devided their areas (West-Europe – Central-East Europe), so of course there are differences in seemingly same products. These differences are first of all caused by the price level and then the level of modernisation of the factories. On top of that in Hungary prices are higher than in neighbouring countries, beacause of the high VAT (aka.the poor people’s tax). In the past I like one thing really when shopping in Hungary: on the packaging was mentioned the FACTORY (incl.place and country). This information seems to be disappearing in Hungary (and not available at all in Western-Europe). Not required according to EU rules, and probably strongly lobbied a such by the multi-nationals. I think mentioning the factory/producer on a product is a very good thing, it gives the consumer a chance to connect to the producer, and reduces the influence of the other parties in the chain, which hardly any to none value add to the… Read more »
Nwo
Guest

As one who has invested in private food production companies in Hungary and other parts of CEE, I think two important points should be made. 1. More than multi-nationals, it is local producers who “cheat” on the recipes and 2. such behavior is driven by the cost pressures put on producers due to ultimately Consumers’ preference for low cost over quality in making purchasing decisions.

Mario
Guest

I agree. And I am sure that if ten Hungarians were told that they are eating low quality food, that this is unhealthy etc. eight or nine will reply using the very characteristic “who cares?”

webber
Guest

I’ve just heard a bunch of middle-class Hungarians complaining about the quality of food they get. They care. They just feel there is nothing they can do about it. Watery milk is a major complaint, for instance – and they said they thought Hungarian farmers were putting water in the milk, as were processors.

pappp
Guest

Hungarian milk (produced by Alföldi under various brands for example) is also smelly. It’s ridiculous. In the thin paper packaging the smell when one opens the milk box is almost always just disgusting. It’s bad quality. Producers think Hungarians will buy everything (because mostly they do).

The people behind gaultmillau.hu (Magyar Gasztronómiai Egyesület) documents the terrible state of Hungarian basic food production.

Even though there’s a myth that Hungarian food is so good and tasty, in actuality the quality of available virsli (thin sausage, Frankfurter-Debreziner), milk, butter, red pepper etc. is just terrible.

For example almost all potato produced in Hungary which one can buy in grocery stores (though most potato is imported now) were originally intended for animal fodder purposes (if one actually checks the variety) and not for human consumption.

Also for 2m people in Budapest there are maybe less than half a dozen bakeries which actually bake bread (using sour dough. and not yeast and other additives), the rest just warms up deep-frozen products in electric ovens.

FreeWheeling
Guest

Indeed. I have seen the very same. It was always puzzled why rural and suburban Hungarians often did not want to purchase products from their neighbors and most of the time it was because they didn’t trust them to provide the quality and consistency that they wanted. Furthermore Hungarians, even those in the countryside with more time than income, seem to enjoy the experience strolling around in large supermarkets.

This all seems to be just the start of an offensive in which OV will ratchet up in order to displace the established multi-national corporate retailers as promised last year during his speech in Poland.

webber
Guest

Personal comment – For a short time I bought eggs and sausage from some people who had chickens and made the sausage themselves. The third time I did so, the sausage turned moldy in the fridge the day after I bought it, and the eggs turned out to be very stale.

Observer
Guest

Hear, hear.
Arriving in the mid 90s I started “buying Hungarian” in support of the new democracy which had probably the best food industries in EEurope.
My enthusiasm declined steadily starting with the terrible wine sold then, going later through ridiculously overpriced one, terrible “mangalica” whatever, tasteless virstli and ham, substandard to bad restaurant fare, doctored honey, tasteless or overripe mellons, etc. etc. Last week: more expensive, local producer’s horse radish tasted like sawdust, thrown away.
In these various product the common denominator is “Hungarian”, and it seems this makes them inferior to the foreign equivalent I now buy in Aldi***, Spar**, Auchan**, Tesco**, never local if I can avoid it.
This is the result for the “tricky” (ügyes) Hungarians.

petofi
Guest

Oj vay, tsurelai, don’t tell me such ugh things.

I’m returning–now just considering–to Hungary in the summer for the fruits and vegetables. Now I might not.

But, basically, I can only repeat: Hungaricoes deserve…

Ferenc
Guest
petofi
Guest

A fine point, Ferenc.

Apparently, over a 1,000 psychiatrists have signed a petition declaring that Trump is dangerous with a feeble grasp of reality.

As the margin of opinion widens between Pence and Trump–not Pence’s recent visit to Europe–one can see the preparation to replace the toxic Trump.

Still, the question remains: how did Trump win the Republican primary? I would have a Congressional investigating committee look at that ‘phenomenon’ , too…Looks to me like there’s something foul in the Republican power structure as well–

Istvan
Guest

Making a clinical diagnosis without an actual face to face examination of Trump is a pretty questionable practice Petofi. This article http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2017/02/19/psychologist-calls-on-colleagues-to-sign-petition-for-trumps-removal/#72c8283f4971 discusses the complexity of that issue. I believe those mental health professionals that signed on to the petition were psychologists nor psychiatrists, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has what is called the Goldwater rule that would prohibit its members from making a public diagnosis like that.

I feel Trump is a disturbed man, but then I felt some US Army Generals and 06’s (Colonels) were mentally disturbed too, but I keep it to my self to avoid being charged with insubordination. Its hard for average humans to deal with people with such massive egos and personal sense of self righteousness whether in politics, business, or the military.

Tyrker
Guest

I don’t care about these results because most items on the list are highly processed foods that I don’t consume anyway. The only whole-food item on the list is bay leaves, and we grow our own bay laurel in a pot.

webber
Guest

Do you wash your clothing? Hungarian detergent is also of much worse quality. I could list a lot of other products.
Fruits and vegetables are also substandard generally.

webber
Guest

And bacon sold in the stores is awful. You have to know someone to get decent bacon. What the stores have in Hungary is full of water. You can get decent bacon in Austria, in the UK, in Germany, etc., but not in Hungary.

webber
Guest

If you have drunk milk in Sweden, Germany, Austria or even Slovakia, and compare it with the milk you get in Hungary, you will notice a huge difference. Hungarian milk has water in it. A couple of years ago Index paid for a study on Hungarian brands of milk – and every single sample they tested had water in it. Every one, without exception. The best milk just had less water added.

petofi
Guest

Ahh, the Hungarian form of capitalism: you don’t work harder..or smarter…you just cheat more.

HAJRA MAGYAROK!

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘bacon sold in the stores is awful’

Guess it ‘s deteriorated since the ‘K’ years, eh? Remember taking in a meal by a fire while the bacon was cooking and dripping with fat. Smelled really good. Grandpops says make sure you take some wine. Why? ‘It kills the zsir’. Sounds better to me in magyar.😎

Istvan
Guest

Mexican milk is really worse in my opinion, best to drink only beer or Tequila when there. In Vietnam no one drank fresh milk during the war years because it did not exist and really still doesn’t. What Vietnamese today call fresh milk is actually made of powder milk. Vietnam to this day lacks the refrigeration capacity to have real fresh milk as do many countries.

LwiiH
Guest
Hi Eva, My understanding from talking to different people is that CBA got hit hard with the Sunday shopping laws. They lost at least 5% in market share as soon as the law went into play and it continued downwards from there. They were then begging to have the law repealed and when it finally was, CBA found that their slide in market share didn’t get any better. Your posting feels like it’s a CBA driven propaganda effort that my guess is won’t work. You see, the highly preprocessed food sold in Hungary is inferior with exception to brand name packed things like Nutella and coke and cereals. Local grown produce sold in open markets is of excellent quality with few exceptions one being corn. The waste majority of corn being sold in Hungary for human consumption is barely good enough to be fed to livestock. One can only assume that products made from byproducts of this infereror corn will be inferior. But mostly, food is a commodity and you can either afford to bid for better quality or you can’t. I have never seen the Hungarian market as being able to bid for better quality in a way that… Read more »
webber
Guest

CBA has the WORST quality food of all chains in Hungary.
For example, if you like almonds, buy a packet of roasted almonds in CBA and a packet of exactly the same brand in some other store (Spar, for instance), and compare them. CBA’s is much worse. That store has a reputation (whether deserved or not, I don’t know) – a reputation of repackaging out-of-date foods and selling them as fresh.

Bowen
Guest

Stopped going to CBA (and it’s “luxury” Prima version) a long time ago. There’s just no reason to go into one.

Apart from the low-quality, low-range produce (mostly alcohol, parizsi and canned stuff) they have absolutely appalling customer service. If, for some reason, you want to be treated like dirt, by a grouchy, mean-spirited hag, who will do anything in her power to foul up your day, then by all means go to any branch CBA, because you’re absolutely guaranteed that experience.

pappp
Guest

CBA (its central, wholesale entity; the individual shops are owned separately) is said to make a lot of money by procuring products from producers with (almost) expired sell-by-dates (which such producers get back from other retailers or simply which the producers couldn’t sell) which CBA then repackages and attempts to sell.

This means that almonds, nuts and other such products one buys in CBA are always rancid and go straight to the trash.

CBA doesn’t have a reason to exist. The very reason to have a unified brand is for consumers to know that the quality, service etc. is the same.

But the individual shops of CBA are in different hands whose managers have freedom in everything so there’s nothing uniform in CBA stores – only that quality is terrible and unreliable and service is rude.

It’s almost ridiculous that Hungarians couldn’t even figure out how to sell groceries in 27 years since the fall of communism.

petofi
Guest

Again, Pappp, you miss the point: Hungarians revel in expressing, and passing on, HATRED.

Quite the people, wouldn’t you say.
(I no longer even say, “I’m a Canadian of Hungarian origin.” As my very good friend, Madeleine–an 80 something beauty with a thick accent says, “I tell people I meet now that I’m Breetish…”

Observer
Guest

pappp

Yes, the CBA is a franchise and the individual shops of CBA are in different hands with different managers, but you find they have uniformly terrible quality and rude service.
This confirms my point at 8.35 above about the common denominator of being run “purely” by Hungarians (no Soros there). Which forces the point of work ethics and moral profile in general.

Add the stas that the best paid jobs and most liked workplaces are all in foreign cos.

Observer
Guest

Forgot

HUNGARY SHALL NOT BE A COLONY.
Hungary for the Hungarians, i.e. the local orban mafia can suck it dry alone.

Observer
Guest

LwiiH

You’re the one finally hitting the nail.

Guys, remember
– the assaults against Tesco three/four years ago,
– the Sunday ban/it’s repeal,
– the earlier propaganda against “foreign” like Slovak milk, Spanish tomatoes, etc
– the “inspection fee” (shot down by the EU),
– the meddling in the advertising and shelf space,
– the VAT shenanigans ?
Since all these failed to boost the CBA, Prima profits, from which Orban/Fid is paid, now it will try again the “foreign” enemies track, the Orban mafia wants their billions.

Mario
Guest

All right. Just one comment on Spanish tomatoes, as a personal note: whatever Spain exports to Eastern Europe really is very poor, from peppers to aubergines to zucchine not talking of those red watery things they sell as tomatoes. Cook Spanish “tomatoes and 80 % of the content disappears within minutes. Obviously greenhouse stuff injected with liquids. Italian tomatoes the best. Even Slovak tomatoes are much better than the ones from Spain. I simply do not buy any Spanish vegetable here.

Observer
Guest

Reinforcing the suspicion re the next “battle” . Tags EU, economy, Germany

az eurózóna jelenlegi formájában gyakorlatilag fenntarthatatlan .. a németek igazságtalanul előnyt kovácsoltak eurózónás tagságukból, miközben több ország óriási áldozatok árán próbált kimászni a válságból…

http://www.portfolio.hu/gazdasag/europa_vagy_szetesik_vagy_fellazad_a_nemete
k_ellen.1.244376.html?utm_source=index.hu&utm_medium=doboz&utm_campaign=link

Guest
There are several aspects to this discussion – I can add from personal experience: Cheap (or subsidised) HFCS iunstead of sugar is also a US problem – it makes you crave for more instead of making you feel you’ve had enough, a really dangerous practice. Some companies really sell worse quality to Hun gary and other Eastern European countries (detergents are a good examples) – because they can sell them cheaper, Hungarians don’t want to pay too much for Persil e g … Some products are not sold at all in Hungary – like sour cream with 30% fat – too expensive. Many quality products from Western Europe are too expensive here because of the VAT aka “poor tax”. However we found that especially Lidl and Aldi have more and more of the “good stuff” now in Hungary that some years ago you could only get in Germany/Austria – and often at reasonable prices. Not too much OT: So I’ll describe what I brought from Germany to Hungary just today (not only for us, but also for our young ones and our neighbours) – funny coincidence: 10 kg Ritter Sport chocolate (direct from the factory, around 6€ per kilo –… Read more »
Istvan
Guest
petofi
Guest

@ Istvan

Anything to avoid a defeat.
Oh the frailty (frailness?) of the Orban psyche!

petofi
Guest

Or, perhaps, the Russians don’t want any east european disasters now that they have their grip on the very innards of American government…

qaz
Guest

Haven’t you considered that the whole Momentum episode is most probably government organized. Two benefits:

1. Getting out of the Olympic quagmire instead of losing the bid or having to go through this ruinous experience if selected.
2. Creating an outlet for the unsatisfied, including former Fidesz voters, thus dividing the opposition and keeping the former fidesz voters into the fold (some similarity here with the LMP situation).

pappp
Guest
@qaz: I think this is very very unlikely. Orban would love few things more than hosting the Olympics (the other is constructing Paks2 from Russian loans which is a top priority and a sacrosanct element of his pivot to Russia policy). Revocation of the bid is a clear defeat for Orban and people know this – just when Orban’s reputation as an omnipotent winner is anyway in doubt. Orban couldn’t have desired that and the fact that he didn’t really know what to do for a few days shows that he was taken by surprise. About 70-75%, perhaps more, of the voters are unsatisfied with Orban. This is an enormous constituency. This is way more than just a niche for which an autocrat would create an outlet. Instead, this is a fundamental force of demand that is naturally creating its own political supply: e.g. György Gémesi, mayor of Gödöllő just announced that he is setting up a new party and there may be others too. Momentum to me always seemed a liberal-leaning, pragmatist force and my guess is that liberals, the pargamtist urban middle class simply don’t have an outlet they can enthusiastically vote for. I’m not surprised that Momentum… Read more »
aida
Guest

Welcome recognition of what they should have known : the people of Budapest do not want it. They probably do not want OV to continue as PM. I would not. So next year they can get the fellow out. Good luck

bimbi
Guest
“…the Orbán government, only now discovered a three-year-old study about the alleged poor quality of imported food from Western Europe… … the following day János Lázár called the incident “the greatest scandal of the coming years.” I come to this article very late but it is most interesting because of the problems posed and the comments voiced. First of all, the article makes it clear that the Hungarian government’s (Nebih) efforts to pin-point the problem were apparently based only on quite dubious and subjective considerations. Reliable scientific method requires that objective criteria be used in any comparison assessment. None is presented, neither in the article, nor in the comments. One reads: “Unfortunately products sold in Hungary are inferior quality”; this offered as an “everyone knows that” opinion! The initial assertion (that imported food stuffs are often of inferior quality) may be true but the assertion certainly demands well-established support by facts that can be assessed independently. [We skirt round Lazar’s claim of “the greatest scandal of the coming years” – Huh? Presumably it has not been until now? Must be a problem of translation…] The assertion of inferior quality is, however, completely consistent with the needs of the Orban/Fidesz nationalistic… Read more »
Guest

Of course this is just a diversion – Fidesz is trying desperately to hide their latest disaster with the Olympic Games.

On the other hand it’s rather obvious that Hungarian companies (not the Global players …) sell many inferior products – because they have to sell cheap products to the poor Hungarians.
A scientific analysis of this is probably impossible …

Maybe an analysis has been made how much Hungarians are able/willing to spend on food and which kind of foods the money is spent on.

Again an example:
All of our neighbours use margarine instead of butter – they just can’t afford it, butter is almost twice as expensive as in Germany (though with the advent of Lidl and Aldi it has become cheaper), so not many people use it.

Statistics on things like that might be interesting. And the situation reminds me again of my childhood – sixty years ago we also ate margarine in Germany – only on Sundays we had butter, what a luxury!
So again (as I’ve said often) in many respects Hungary is fifty/sixty years behind the West …

TKT
Guest

When I went to business school in New York City for my MBA, my Marketing Professor actually taught us that it was a good strategy to market/sell inferior quality, uncompetitive, unsaleable goods/products to people in Third World / Undeveloped countries.

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