Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Pack sizes

Pack sizes

Directive 2007/45/EC lays down rules on nominal quantities for pre-packed products. The directive aims to remove potential obstacles to the competitiveness of EU enterprises and to facilitate their access to markets in different EU countries. As the directive liberalises pack sizes, it also promotes free circulation of products in the EU Single Market.

The legislation was evaluated by the Commission in July 2016 - more information

What the directive brings

The provisions of the Directive 2007/45/EC apply from 11 April 2009. From that date:

  • EU countries cannot prohibit or restrict the circulation of prepacked products and prepackages within the EU Single Market
  • only EU sizes apply for wine and spirits
  • national sizes were abolished for all other products

Directive 2007/45/EC repeals Council Directives 75/106/EEC and 80/232/EEC, and amends Council Directive 76/211/EEC.

See the summary of the Directive in different languages.

History of the rules on pack sizes

Rules on quantities in which products can be sold date back to the 1970s. Since then the legislation on consumers' protection has significantly developed. Nowadays it gives a better protection than rules on quantities. The rules include:

Based on an impact assessment (261kB) carried out in 2004, the Commission presented a Proposal for a Directive abolishing national and Community rules determining sizes in which consumer products can be sold. Wine, spirits, soluble coffee and white sugar sectors were excluded from the proposal as a specific impact assessment on pack sizes in the EU (1 MB) indicated that there could be a reason to maintain sizes most sold to consumers as mandatory.

The Commission presented a discussion paper followed by a public consultation in November 2002 – February 2003. The consultation gathered views on maintaining existing pre-packaging legislation on fixed sizes or allowing free pack sizes.

Supporting documents

Views of consumers on pack sizes:

 Other documents: