Across the country of 144m people, Russians are shifting towards healthier eating habits

The rising trend amongst consumers is a need to avoid harmful additives, added sugar, and fatty foods.

Younger Russians want products full of health benefits. That’s why the organic and health food market in Russia is one of the world’s most dynamic.

Organic & health food in Russia

Russians change their eating habits

According to Nielsen, more than 84% of Russians have changed how they are eating.

53% have reduced their intake of fat, 65% reduced sugar, and a further 67% have increased the volume of organic and healthy foods they regularly eat.

For 62% of consumers, a wide range of healthy foods has already become an important factor when choosing where to shop and what to buy.

The head of the Association of Retail Companies, Sergey Belyakov says that notes that 28% of Russians are more likely to buy a “farm product”, i.e. one that has been grown organically. A further 22% are more likely to buy products either labelled "bio", "eco", or "organic”.

Previously Moscow and St Petersburg dominated the market share. They still do, but about two years ago, more than 90% of the demand was in Russia’s two largest cities.

Today the share of these cities has dropped to 80% and continues to fall as the trend spreads to greater Russia.

What’s the market potential for organic & health food in Russia?

There is great market potential for international firms to make a real impact in Russia.

According to the Executive Director of the National Organic Union, Oleg Mironenko, about 25% of the population are potential organic consumers.

That would mean, over ten years of annual sales, the healthy food market alone can grow to €5 billion ($5.4bn).

Up to 85% of all the health foods in Russia, including organic items, are imported.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, lack of domestic development of farming in a sustainable, pesticide-free, natural way. Russia is not for trying though. It’s on President Putin’s agenda to make Russia a net exporter of organic goods, so agriculture is seeing big state support in this area.

Another is trust. Food labelling in Russia is not the most accurate, regarding locally produced goods. See the abundance of “fake” dairy products in stores nationwide as an example. The regulations governing what can and can’t be considered organic in Russia are still being developed.

International brands, particularly in countries with strong healthy foodstuff sales and production, have no such qualms. Their regulatory framework and labelling regimes have already been worked out.

Simply put, if it’s an imported product, and the label says it’s organic, then chances are, in Russia, it actually is.

Russian supermarkets stores are stocking more healthy products as online sales rise

Traditionally, Russia’s supermarket chains are the main outlet for organic produce. It’s chains like Auchan and Magnit that have the import budgets to spend on importing these fairly niche products.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that this type of product is often much more expensive for Russian shoppers than non-organic items. Mark-ups can range anywhere from 20% to 400% for more speciality goods.

Back to the market split. Supermarkets are responsible for 41% of market share, with specialist outlets covering around 21%, and direct sales another 13%.

However, with the growth in sales, some suppliers are struggling to keep up with demand – especially in a perishables heavy sector like this one. Shorter shelf lives mean online retailers can often provide fresher products than those that languish on supermarket shelves.

“Suppliers cannot always provide the necessary volumes, and often products have a short shelf life,” explains Artyom Ryzhkov of agricultural equipment business “Sales of organic products are starting to fall with specialised stores and internet channels.”

WorldFood Moscow: gateway to Russia's food & drink market

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 $26 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.