Here’s what food & drink Russia buys from DACH countries


Russia and the DACH countries are keen food & drink trading partners.

Germany, Austria and Switzerland all have their own impact on Russia’s international food import market. As such, there are some big export opportunities available to producers in those three countries to grasp hold of.

DACH Countries & Russia: the state of the food trade

A word on food & drink sanctions

EU food & drink is under import embargo in Russia, affecting Germany & Austria

It’s been a long five years, but the embargo situation in Russia hasn’t changed. Imports of fruits & vegetables, fish & seafood, meat & poultry, and dairy & milk items from EU member states are still under import ban. Germany and Austria are affected.

The story for Switzerland is slightly different. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but it does have its own range of restrictive measures in place on Russian businesses. However, these are mostly related to spheres outside of the food & drink world, pertaining to financial services and arms exports.

With that in mind, Swiss companies are free to export essentially whatever foodstuffs they like to Russian buyers – or Russian buyers are free to buy what they like from Swiss firms!

Back to Germany and Austria and the door is not closed fully. For some product categories, it’s wide open, which we’ll come onto later.


Germany: Russia’s no.1 DACH food supplier

Chcoolate is the most in-demand German foodstuff in Russia.

“The foundations of German and Russian economic relations are solid, even in times of sanctions,” German-Russian Chamber of Commerce Chairman Matthias Schepp told RT, and he is not wrong.

Between January-October 2018, for instance, overall German-Russo trade enjoyed 25% year-on-year, hitting a tantalising $22bn overall.
 
While food trade statistics from 2018 are unavailable at the time of writing, we can look at 2017 for a full year’s picture of German food & drink exports to Russia.

According to data from the MIT Observatory of Economic Complexity Online Database (OEC), Germany’s Russian exports, incorporating ingredients, raw materials, and finished products, reached $1.06bn in 2017.

That’s an encouraging sign for the level of export opportunity still available for producers in countries still under Russian embargo.

So, what did Russian buyers want from their German suppliers? OEC data reveals the following as Germany’s top three export products:

• Chocolate - $150m exports
• Baked goods - $62.1m exports
• Beer - $60.2m exports

Both the top two products fall into the confectionery segment, a market worth in excess of $1bn in Russia. Indeed, chocolate is Russians’ preferred sweet choice, with consumption clocking in at around 24.5kg per person.

In terms of import increases, chocolate has been seen a 41% rise. For context, 2016 saw Russian importers buy $106m worth of chocolate and chocolate confectioneries from German producers.

Swiss exports to Russia: over $210m in food & drink

Russian food & drink importers love Swiss cheese.

Incorporating animal products, foodstuffs and vegetable and plant-based goods, Switzerland has healthy food & drink trade with Russia.

As mentioned above, Swiss companies do not fall under the yoke of import embargoes, which means they are capable of exporting most in-demand products to Russia. Of course, the nature of Switzerland’s agricultural complex means it won’t be exporting everything, but it does have a strong market presence.

OEC data states the below are Switzerland’s most in-demand foodstuffs for Russian buyers:

• Cheese - $20.2m exports
• Flavoured water - $16.6m exports
• Chocolate - $9.9m exports

Cheese is an interesting product to see. Swiss cheese, though famed worldwide for its taste, quality, and yes, holes, represents just 2.2% of Russia’s total cheese import portfolio. That suggests, however, that Swiss cheese is a premium, high-end product for Russians, more suitable to specialist import stores and luxury branding.

The same goes for chocolate. Again, Swiss goods account for 2% of the total import market, so chocolatiers across the nation are best suited to positioning themselves a luxury, artisanal product in Russia.

Russia imports $188m worth of food & drink from Austria

Austria is Russia's largest foreign supplier of sauces & seasonings.

Austrian producers represent the third largest export market to Russia in the DACH countries, but not by that much. Just $30m separates it and Switzerland.

Indeed, many of the DACH countries’ Russian exports run across a similar theme, although the make-up of Austria’s exports exhibits an encouraging uniqueness. Once more, we turn to OEC to find the top three Austrian products in Russia:

• Sauces & seasonings - $34.3m exports
• Flavoured water - $9.09m exports
• Coffee - $7.32m

Sauces and seasonings are worth highlighting for another reason. Depending on the type of sauce, it could be made up of processed vegetables. For example, jarred Bolognese sauce often comprised of tomatoes and onions.

Tomatoes and onions, the raw products, are under import embargo in Russia. But, as Austrian exporters’ experience shows, processed varieties are not. As such, they are available to Russian importers, and represent a nice earner for suppliers in the EU.

Austria was actually the largest suppliers of such goods to Russia during 2017, with 17% of the overall $204m market. Perhaps more importantly, though, is the fact that 8 of Russia’s top 10 sauce suppliers come from within the EU.

Russia is a land of opportunity for DACH food & drink exporters


From the above, we can see that Russians want to buy from DACH producers. Now, it’s about finding the right platform to reach the buyers that matter. For international companies, there’s only one place to be: WorldFood Moscow.

Discover your export opportunities at Russia’s no.1 international food & drink exhibition: WorldFood Moscow


WorldFood Moscow, Russia’s largest food & drink exhibition, is the place to meet the buyers searching for food & drink from foreign manufacturers.

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.

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

Need more information? Contact our team today.
 
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