28th International Food Exhibition
24–27 September 2019 • Crocus Expo, Moscow, Russia

How green is my diet? Organic food in Russia

News
Healthy eating is currently en vogue in countries all around the world. Russia has been a little slow to get off the organic blocks initially, but now the market is picking up with gusto – so pay attention exporters!
How green is my diet? Organic food in Russia
Russians are becoming more and more health conscious. A younger generation is turning away from fatty and sugary foodstuffs. Instead, young Russians want greener, cleaner tastes to dance across their palettes.
 
The results are a rapidly growing market – one which is reliant on imports to keep growth consistent.
 

Russia’s expanding organic food market

 
Currently, the size of the organic sector, in Russia treated as a sub-segment of the overall health food market, is up to $250m.
 
Globally, this is a little on the small side. Worldwide, organic and green foodstuffs is an industry worth approximately $100 billion. 
 
Even so, Russian organic food sales have tripled since the start of the decade. This growth wasn’t even hampered by the Russian recession, nor its ongoing trade spat with the EU, US and other key agricultural suppliers. 
 
“The crisis did not kill the consumption of organic products,” says Oleg Mironenko, Executive Directior of Russia’s National Organic Union. “Maybe the average pay check fell, but the demand remained.”
 
Russians have consistently been buying 10% more natural foods year-on-year since 2010. 44% of the greater health foods sector is made up by natural produce, according to research from NeoAnalytics.
 
As such, the nation is one of the fastest growing markets for these products in the world. Currently, growth rates are outstripping those from the Philippines, Madagascar, and even agricultural powerhouse Italy.
 

Imports cover the bulk of natural health food products in Russia

 
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.
 
Specialist importers, like Moscow-based Arivera, handle such shipments. You’ll find a great number of them at the international WorldFood Moscow food & drink exhibition.



 

Fruits & vegetables at the forefront of Russia’s health food charge

 
It should be no surprise to find that the bulk of organic sales in Russia are taken up by fruits and vegetables. These are often the easiest items to grow, cultivate and package without additives or unsustainable packaging.
 
Meat, baked goods, and drinks are also key market segments, but their sales are eclipsed by agricultural products.
 
Milk and dairy products are also key market drivers.
 

Supermarkets stock more – but online healthy foodstuff sales are rising

 
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 Griadky.ru. “Sales of organic products are starting to fall with specialised stores and internet channels.”
 

Russian organic food consumers are high-income & educated

 
Mirroring buying trends in the West, your average health food consumer in Russia sits in the mid-to-high income bracket. They’re educated, relatively affluent, and aged between 25-45. The biggest consumer base lies in Western Russia; specifically, its two largest cities (Moscow and St. Petersburg).
 
They are more clued-up on the types of food they eat, and the provenance of the ingredients they use in their meals. 
 
Fitness and overall wellbeing are big concerns for this consumer group, so organic items fall right into their hands.
 

Meet Russia’s key organic buyers at WorldFood Moscow: Russia’s biggest international food & drink event

 
WorldFood Moscow, Russia’s largest food & drink exhibition, is the place to meet the buyers searching for new organic food products.
 
Over 28,000 professionals, from specialist health and organic 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 $27.8 billion import market.
 
Want to take part? Click here to book your stand.
 
Need more information? Contact our team today.