Russian food & drink market update February 2020

Our first news update of 2020 welcomes a new decade in Russian food & drink.

What’s on the menu this month? A welcome reprieve for Turkish tomato exporters, support for better labelling, and presidential call to eat healthier.

Russian food & drink market round up

Russians support mandatory food product labelling

More Russian shoppers want better food & drink labelling on the products they buy.

A survey undertaken by the All-Russian Centre for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) states 73% of Russians are in favour of mandatory labelling of food products.

Its surprising Russia currently lacks such a system. This is particularly in the true of its ongoing embargo on foodstuffs from the EU, US and allies.

With many fresh ingredients or finished products cut off to Russian consumers, and domestic producers failing to meet demand, many Russian firms have resorted to dishonest measures to manufacturer and promote their products.

Counterfeit goods, mislabelled, or “fake” products are being regularly consumed by Russians – and they have had enough.

Some 43% of respondents said they have seen or bought illegal or counterfeit goods in the last year. 

Those goods refer to substitute products, such as cheese made without milk, or foodstuffs labelled as one item but actually containing different ingredients. 

At present, Russia is introducing a new tracking system. It is envisioned it will track production cycle from point of origin to final supermarket shelf. 76% of the VTsIOM survey participants said they are aware of it.

That means if you are exporting to Russia, make sure your labelling is correct. Consumer trust, and therefore higher sales, will be the pay off.

Russian agriculture ministers debate upping Turkish tomato import quota

Higher quanitities of Turkish tomatoes could be on their way to Russia soon.

Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture has proposed upping its import quota of tomatoes from Turkey by a third.

If accepted, the volume of fresh or chilled tomatoes Russia would import from Turkey could reach 200,000 tons per year.

This follows from a similar proposal made in March 2019. Then, the Ministry proposed increasing the volume to 150,000 tons.

Turkey is well placed to capitalise on Russia’s EU food import ban. It is amongst the highest suppliers of agricultural goods to Russia, with tomatoes being a key export product.

If the proposal is approved, it only goes to show the big wins fruits & vegetable producers can achieve with EU produce still off the table.

President Putin wants Russian shopping baskets to be healthier

PResident Putin wants to see healtheir options in the average Russian shopping basket.

Organic and healthy foods are one of the key trends in Russia right now – and, apparently, this has been met with Presidential approval.

Speaking at one of his usual Q&A sessions with the general public in January 2020, President Vladimir Putin highlighted his desire for Russians to shake up their eating habits.

“It is necessary to look at the Russian shopping basket,” Putin said, as quoted by Russian news outlet RIA Novosti. “Experts say its structure needs improving. I don’t remember the percentage of potatoes, fats, etc. but baker products make up a large part.

“There is not enough fruits & vegetables in the basket, and not enough fish and meat. Certainly, it needs revision.”

A revision of the consumer basket from January 2021 onwards could result in an increase in the Russian minimum wage too. Not only will it be good for Russian’s physical health, it’ll be good for their wallets too.