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Agriculture and rural development
News article27 October 2020Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development

EU marketing standards contribute to high quality standards for EU agri-food products

EU marketing standards for agri-food products have been effective in establishing a standardised and satisfactory quality while also being useful for stakeholders. These are among the key findings of the ‘Evaluation of marketing standards’ published today by the European Commission.

EU marketing standards aim at establishing a standardised and satisfactory quality for agri-food products available on the EU market. To do this, they set out technical definitions, classification, presentation, marking and labelling, packaging, production method, conservation, storage, transport, related administrative documents, certification and time limits, restriction of use and disposal. These standards are usually sector-specific, for a broad range of sectors, including fruit and vegetables, poultry, eggs, dairy products, olive oil, meat, wine and hops.

The report aimed at determining if EU marketing standards currently in place are fulfilling their objectives and if they are useful and sufficient for stakeholders, such as producers, processors, traders, retailers, consumers and Member States’ administrations.

The evaluation concluded that EU marketing standards have generally been effective in achieving their objectives, with no significant unintended or unexpected effects observed. Furthermore, even though nor costs or benefits are fully quantifiable, the majority of stakeholders consulted deemed that the costs of implementing EU marketing standards are justifiable and proportionate to the benefits achieved.

While EU marketing standards were found to be pertinent to the needs identified by stakeholders, the evaluation highlighted that there is some room for improvement in terms of addressing new needs. This includes for instance the inclusion of the evolution of technology, marketing strategies and consumer preferences.

Finally, the evaluation found that EU marketing standards were coherent with the other aspects of the common agricultural policy as well as with other EU relevant rules. They also provide significant added value in addition to international and private standards, thanks to their mandatory nature and by being tailored to the EU context.


The evaluation report is the result of an overall evaluation process of the EU marketing standards laid down in the common market organisation, the “breakfast directives” and Commission acts. Leading to this report, the European Commission ran a public consultation on the topic in 2019 and published an external evaluation support study.

Adopted in May 2020 by the Commission, the Farm to fork strategy aims to accelerate our transition to sustainable food systems. It includes the objective for marketing standards “to ensure the uptake and supply of sustainable products”.

Related links

Marketing standards in regulation, directives and secondary legislation

Common monitoring and evaluation framework

Market measures explained


Publication date
27 October 2020
Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development