Russian food & drink market update August 2018

Russia’s food and drink industry throws up some interesting news stories this August.

Russia’s food and drink industry throws up some interesting news stories this August. On the agenda this month are yet more import bans, an upcoming VAT increase, and rising levels of lemons and limes hitting Russian markets.
Serbian & Macedonian fruit banned from Russian import sector As of August 15 2018, Russia will be implementing a temporary ban on fruit imports from Serbia and Macedonia. This is over safety concerns – rather than a deep-seated political tangle like the ongoing EU/US food embargo. Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia’s food safety watchdog, said the temporary restrictions are due to fungal infections in Serbian peaches and apricots imported during July 2018. It said it has found traces of the infectious Monilinia fructicola fungus in shipments from Macedonia too. Once Serbian and Macedonian producers’ facilities are inspected by Russian representatives, then their produce will be back in Russia with a bang. Do not expect a multi-year import ban in this case. Russian MP targets artificial food additives in new bill Organic and health food is a rising market in Russia right now, and this positive attitude to clean, healthy products is influencing government policy. MP Vitality Milonov has proposed banning the naming of foodstuffs made with excessive levels of artificial components after traditional products. The examples the MP gave were “lemonade “and “sausages”. Mr. Milonov has claimed that Russian stores are offering customers products barely containing any actual meat, but still labelled as such. “It would be logical to impose a ban on names of foodstuffs that can potentially mislead customers. If some so-called sausage has less than 50% of meat in it, this product cannot be named sausage and must be called ‘imitation of a sausage product,’ he wrote. “It is not correct when a cocktail of harmful chemicals is called lemonade. This product should also be named in line with its composition – a chemically synthesized drink – and we must mention the possible harmful effects of such drinks on their labels.” Milonov stated. Russian citrus fruit imports rise 12.2% Not all the Russian news is bad news. Exporters of citrus fruits: your products are increasing in demand there. Across the first half of 2018, Russian companies imported 12.2% more citrus fruits compared with the same period in 2017. As we touched on briefly above, imports of foodstuffs have been rising since 2017. That means foreign-sourced foods are still very much in demand throughout Russia – especially items like lemons and limes that are not widely grown domestically outside of select greenhouse farms. France wins 2018 FIFA World Cup – thanks to Russian cheese? If you’ve been following our monthly Russian food market news roundups this year, you’ll be familiar with Moscow-based Cheese maker Oleg Sirota. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament, Mr Sirota was supplying the French team, which was based close to his creamery. During the tournament, the French side ordered an impressive 400kg from Sirota’s Russky Parmezan – and filling Les Bleus with his Russian takes on European cheeses seems to have paid off! France were crowned champions of the world after beating Croatia 4-1 in an action-packed World Cup Final. Was Oleg Sirota’s cheesy concoctions behind their success? Now, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation – but after scoffing nearly half a ton of locally produced cheeses, it seems France’s va-va-voom may have stemmed from Russian foods! Let’s see if the French side can keep up its momentum at the 2020 European Football Championships. Hopefully, they packed some cheese supplies on their way home from Russia earlier this year.