Formal consultation has been launched by the European Commission into whether it should propose legislation to free European Union (EU) drinks businesses from complicated and restrictive legislation that limit packaging sizes, notably bottles for wines and spirits.

A Commission working paper has concluded that the EU is over-regulated regarding pack sizes. In sectors where sizes are fixed, relatively few smaller sizes are sold, limiting “consumer choice.”

Brussels says the demand for smaller pack sizes is increasing; the average size of plastic bottles diminished by half in the 1990s reflecting smaller households and more individualist consumption. Views can be submitted at http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/prepack/index.htm> until January 31.