A look at food & drink trade in the CIS

At WorldFood Moscow, you don’t just get access to first Russian food & drink buyers – you get access to buyers from across the CIS.

The Commonwealth of Independent States is big, representing nine countries, 236 million people, and a joint economy worth $2.6 trillion.

Russia is a key player in this supranational organisation, although each individual member state is a vibrant food importer worth checking out too – so, let’s do exactly that!

CIS: the state of food & drink trade

The nine countries that make up the CIS are all former Soviet republics. Apart from Azerbaijan, they are all participants of the CIS Free Trade Area. Essentially, this gives each tariff-free trading agreements with other parties, improving the internal flow of goods.

The food trade of the CIS partners is particularly robust. Excluding Russia, the members import food & drink products worth an impressive $12.2bn. Please note that that figure includes imports from all source markets, not just Commonwealth countries.

When Russia is incorporated into total CIS food & drink imports, the figure hits $40bn. While that is roughly a third of the EU’s imports, it should be noted that the EU is also about three times the size, in terms of economy and population, that the CIS, so the $40bn figure is something to get excited about.

Food imports by CIS country

So, we know that billions of dollars’ worth of foodstuffs, from finished products to ingredients, is imported by Commonwealth member states – but what are they importing? Let’s take a look at each CIS country, its total spending on imported food & drink items (data taken from the MITT Observatory of Economic Complexity online database, 2017), and the top import categories/products.

Please note: as we have focussed on Russia predominately on this website, we have excluded Russian imports from the below breakdown. For more information on food & drink trade in Russia, please see WorldFood Moscow Market Insights.
Flag of Belarus
Total food & drink imports: $4.2bn
Top product 01: Apples & pears - $381m
Top product 02: Tomatoes - $188m
Top product 03: Chocolate - $102m

Flag of Kazakhstan

Total food & drink imports: $3.32bn
Top product 01: Sugar - $206m
Top product 02: Chocolate - $161m
Top product 03: Baked goods - $137m

Flag of Azerbaijan
Total food & drink imports: $1.32bn
Top product 01: Sugar - $154m
Top product 02: Tea - $63.5m
Top product 03: Flavoured water - $44.3m

Flag of Uzbekistan
Total food & drink imports: $916,000,000
Top product 01: Flour - $110m
Top product 02: Tea - $52.8m
Top product 03: Potatoes - $46.2m

Flag of Moldova
Total food & drink imports: $726,000,000
Top product 01: Frozen fish - $27.6m
Top product 02: Hard liquor - $27.1m
Top product 03: Chocolate – $21.9m

Flag of Armenia

Total food & drink imports: $656,000,000
Top product 01: Hard liquor - $45.2m
Top product 02: Chocolate - $38.1m
Top product 03: Poultry meat - $37.4m

Flag of Kyrgyzstan
Total food & drink imports: $593,000,000
Top product 01:  Chocolate - $47.3m
Top product 02: Baked goods - $34.8m
Top product 03: Flavoured water - $29.7m

Flag of Tajikistan
Total food & drink imports: $450,000,000
Top product 01: Sugar - $39.2m
Top product 02: Poultry meat - $30m
Top product 03: Chocolate - $26m

From the above, we can see a great range of foodstuffs pouring into the trading bloc. On the whole, it is a mixture of raw materials, in the case of sugar, as well as full finished products.

In terms of source markets, the European Union is the largest body trading with the CIS, excluding the member states themselves. For instance, in 2018, the CIS imported foodstuffs from European manufacturers worth $11bn (that does include Russia, however).

Looking at the European Union’s exports also gives and indicator of the types of products in-demand by buyers throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States.

According to EU statistics, the top three product groups exported by the EU to the CIS in 2018 were:
• Wine - $842m
• Spirits & liqueurs - $800m
• Chocolate, confectionery & ice cream - $748m

From this data, it looks like the people of the CIS have a very sweet tooth, and an appetite for imported alcohol. Can your company provide them?

Discover your export opportunities in the CIS at WorldFood Moscow

WorldFood Moscow, the largest food & drink exhibition in Russia and the CIS, is the place to meet the buyers searching for chocolate, sugary sweets, baked goods and all confectionery items.

Over 30,000 professionals, from specialist importers, catering companies, HoReCa sector members, retailers, and wholesalers attend each show – all looking to increase their supplies of key foodstuffs and meet their manufacturers.

As an exhibitor, WorldFood Moscow provides the perfect platform for you to enter the Russian food supply chain, start exporting, and grow your sales in a $28 billion import market - $40bn for the whole CIS.

Want to take part? Click here to book your stand.

Need more information? Contact our team today.