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AAK Insight Magazine nr 2 2016

New cheeses aim to meet demands in Russia Caroline Roux, Research Manager Food and Drink at Mintel The Russian government has prolonged a ban on cheese imports from the EU and the US after sanctions on the country were extended. The import embargo has also affected Russian consumers, who have developed a taste for Western cheese in recent years.   The ban has certainly been a boon for the domestic cheese industry. This has also led to a significant rise in product development as local brands rush to fill the gap left by multinationals. Mintel research shows that cheese innovation actually increased by 47 percent year-on-year in Russia during 2014, with product numbers in the first seven months of 2015 set to surpass even this high.   One of the most interesting impacts of the ban has been the rise of faux-European cheeses by domestic producers, who have been called on to curdle their own versions to meet demand for continental cheeses. Many smaller farms had already been trying to recreate European-style fine cheeses for the budding Russian artisanal movement in the years preceding the sanctions, making them well-positioned when they were suddenly introduced.   The embargo has also created opportunities for brands from non-EU countries to establish supply in a vast, growing market. Retailers have seen imports to Russia fall sharply, but are still importing from countries not affected by the ban, including Belarus, Serbia and Switzerland.   A number of Serbian producers have launched feta cheeses on the retail market in recent months, while Belarusian dairies have experimented with a variety of types, including ricotta. Launches of the Georgian delicacy Suluguni, which has a similar appearance to mozzarella but with a stronger flavour, have also grown significantly in the last 12 months, with many brands suggesting it as an alternative to mozzarella on pizza. Many bakery opportunities Bakery is another segment under constant development and with many opportunities. As mentioned before, chocolate coated biscuits have recently become popular in Russia as it is an affordable alternative to more expensive confectionery products.   Also, the health trend in Russia is, just as in other parts of the world, on the rise and could stimulate consumers to choose bakery products made with healthier solutions, which poses another good opportunity for a company like AAK.   So, in spite of international sanctions and a tough economic situation, there are great growth opportunities in the Russian market for edible oil solutions. AAK has a good reputation and high credibility with customers in the Russian market, and this is something that Vadim Dzyavoruk wants to utilize.   “Going forward, we will further strengthen our customer relations and add even more value to the collaborations. We will furthermore increase the quality and the quantity of our pipeline with new co-development projects following market needs across categories.” 11


AAK Insight Magazine nr 2 2016
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