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Russian demand for Dutch fruit & vegetables: Historically strong so weather the storm

Recent economic troubles and food bans have had far reaching consequences for the Russian food and drink sector. Despite adverse conditions, Russian consumers still have a healthy appetite for fruit and vegetables.
Dutch producers, conventionally robust Russian trade partners, sold a variety of products, including fruit and vegetables, worth close to €313 million to Russia in the first half of 2015. While export values may have dropped over the past year, there are still some great reasons to remain optimistic regarding the Russian market.
Russian-Dutch relations have traditionally been very strong, due to historic bilateral investment treaties and robust cooperation in the agrifood sector. Prior import stats can shine a spotlight on previous Russian demand for Dutch produce. During 2014, The Netherlands exported €1.45 billion worth of animal and vegetable products to Russia, including some €497 million worth of fruits, vegetables and other naturally grown assortments.
In terms of individual products, tomatoes enjoyed the largest individual market share with 3.7% and an export value of €54 million. Onions held a 3.2% share, with Dutch producers exporting €47 million worth of the vegetable in 2014, followed by apples & pears with €39 million worth of produce shipped to Russian markets.
The Netherlands and Russia have enjoyed vibrant trade links for years. Russian demand for Dutch goods is such that 9.5% of all Russian trade, worth €40.7 billion, in 2014 came from The Netherlands. Importing food products is vital for Russia, which imports around 40% of food products each year. 
Russia’s import market for fruits, vegetable and horticultural products is historically worth close to €3.6 billion, so once sanctions are repealed and the economic situation stabilises, Russia will regain its place as one of The Netherland’s major agricultural trading partners.
Advice from ITE Food & Drink is to remain optimistic. Due to the past trade levels between both The Netherlands and Russia, it is likely that once Russia’s economy picks up cooperation between Dutch producers and Russian buyers will reach pre-sanction levels.
Maintaining pre-existing relationships will ensure that re-entering the Russian market a much smoother process. It is advised to keep an open mind regarding Russian-Dutch trade relations, so keep those all-important contact lists up to date.
In order to take the pulse of the Russian market, why not visit WorldFood Moscow held between 12-15 September 2016? Here, you will be able to meet major Russian players in the food sector including distributors, buyers and importers. WorldFood Moscow is a major event on Russia’s food calendar and Dutch delegations have inked highly lucrative deals at the globally-recognised event. Learn more about the exhibition today.


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Tony Higginson

International Sales Director


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