Last month a small group of FDEA members met with Sergey Tyagunov, Senior Trade Officer at the British Embassy in Moscow during his visit to Manchester. We had the opportunity to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities that exist in this vast market of over 140 million people.
We discussed the sanctions and Sergey reminded us of the list of products that are affected. These are basically primary products like meat, fish, vegetable and dairy and whilst this remains an issue especially for cheese producers, does not affect value added products, so for most members, the market is still open.
It is recommended that UK companies focus initially on the large cities and then possibly move on to areas like the Urals. Therefore companies need to check where any potential partners have sales and distribution structures in place and it may be necessary to have more than one importer.
Particular opportunities exist for the following product areas: Organic ; Premium Chocolate; Snacks: Free From: Craft beer (330 ml preferred)
Sergey made the point very strongly that Russians are very curious consumers and stressed the Importance of social media and recommendations from friends when developing a market entry plan
Product Registration / Certification (GOST):
The Certificate of Conformity is an official document confirming compliance of goods that are subject to certification of standard quality and safety. These are specified by current regulations (GOSTs and technical regulations of the Russian Federation). The GOST R system dates back to the time of the Soviet Union. At present, this system still remains relevant and is used within the territory of the Russian Federation and applies to all food and drink imports.
The UKTI team in Russia can advise on companies that provide certification services.
Many companies mentioned the challenges of getting samples into Russia in order to get through the Product Registration and Certification process and Sergey suggests that rather than using courier service for delivering samples, the solution here is to use a freight forwarder (transportation company) experienced in dealing with Russia (and he will provide us with some contact). What is also useful – to write clearly in an appropriate field in the documents that these are ‘SAMPLES FOR CERTIFICATION’.
Food Products labelling and packaging in Russia.
Sergey has sent us a fairly detail summary which we will be happy to forward on request but meanwhile here are some of the highlights:
The general requirements for labelling food products are stipulated in the Federal Law “On Protecting Consumer Rights.” However, the details on labelling are prescribed by special GOSTs.
All the information listed below ought to be present in the technical documentation printed on labels of commodities for consumers. Products are required to have labelling and relevant information in Russian.
In general, the information required on labels is very similar to the requirements within the EU plus reference to the regulatory document or technical specifications the product complies with and can be identified by: Conformity stamp; Certification information;
In addition to the general information required for the majority of imported products, there are specific requirements for alcohol.
With the country showing healthy growth both in size and affluence Russia is clearly a market that cannot be ignored. According to IGD by the end of 2015 Russia will rank as the 4th largest grocery retail market after China, US and India.
You can contact Sergey directly via email - Sergey.Tyagunov@fco.gov.uk and please contact elsa@UKFDEA.com to receive the more detailed Food Labelling and Packaging Summary