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Going green: organic food in Russia

Organic food has been a little slow on the uptake in Russia, but the green tide looks like it is turning. Over the past five years, the market has grown 60% - and the total market value is expected to reach record highs by the end of 2017.

Organic food in Russia: the state of the market

Approximately 3% of Russia’s 144 million population regularly goes organic with their food choices. That’s a market of around 4.5 million active green food consumers – one that is rising year on year.
Total sales of organic food and drink items are expected to hit $250 million in 2017, fuelled by increased spending on items such as organically produced sauces, baby food, muesli and cereals, and tea and coffee. This collection of products offer bright prospects for exporters interested in entering the Russian health food market.

Packaged organic food is a budding sub-sector ready to bloom. According to Euromonitor research, this particular market is growing 4% annually, with sales growing at a CAGR of 6%. Domestic brands Hipp Rus and Humana Milchunion are at the forefront of this expansion.

For context, pre-packaged organic food sales clocked in at $12 million in at 2015.

Food prices are a hot topic in Russia right now, affected by Russia’s long-running import embargo, but those that do eat organic food have shown some interesting buying habits. Around 85% of Russian organic consumers said they’d continue to buy green produce if prices rose 10%. 50% would keep up their buying habits with price increase of 20%.

Currently, most Russians who regularly eat organic foodstuffs live in St. Petersburg and Moscow. They are aged between 25-45, highly educated, middle class, and typically have medium-to-high income levels.

Health at the heart of Russia’s organic food and drink growth

As organic items are made using only natural ingredients, and processed using as few artificial methods as possible, they’re seen to have plenty of health benefits, and this is a big reason why those 4.5 million Russians buy green goods.

74% of consumers say they choose organic options because they are good for their health. It also appears that being free from some synthetic additives GMOs is another big factor according to 67% of Russian organic fans.

Supermarkets, online prime organic produce buying channels

In the past, the only real place to get access to organic food in Russia was at local farmers markets. There simply was not enough customer demand for Russian supermarkets to begin stocking healthier, additive free products. This practice is changing.

Apart from the larger outlets, like Magnit and the X5 Retail Group’s stores, gourmet supermarkets are the prime bricks-and-mortar outlets for organic food and drink. Chains such as Azbuk Vkusa, Globus Gourmet, Land, and Zeleny Perekrestok are the top high-end supermarket chains in Russia – and is these that stock complete ranges of greener, cleaner foods.

E-commerce and online selling is emerging as a huge retail force worldwide and Russia is no different. For organic sellers, this has given their customers newer touchpoints to buy from. Bio Market and Arivera are the two main online portals dedicated to organic produce at present. The pair are Moscow-based, but they are currently expanding its delivery services across Western Russia.

Russia looks towards a greener future

We know Russian organic food sales are on track for a record breaking year in 2017, which suggests customer awareness is spreading throughout the nation. Importantly, the drive to go green looks like it’s coming right from the top.

President Putin has stated several times he envisions Russia as a future chief supplier of organic food to global markets. 

“Russia is able to become the largest world supplier of healthy, ecologically clean and high-quality food which the Western producers have long lost, especially given the fact that demand for such products in the world market is steadily growing,” Putin said in 2016.

Russian agriculture is booming right now. What’s more, Russia has slapped bans on GMOs and modified foods – meaning its food producers really have no choice but to limit additives and keep their products “clean”. 

Governmental support, and a big bump in agricultural output, suggests more Russians could be eating healthier than ever before. Not only does this mean the market for organic food items is expanding, but demand for production, cultivating, and processing machinery is likely to expand too.

Engage with Russia’s organic food and drink market at WorldFood Moscow

According to successful exporters of organic tea Simon Levélt, expanding into the Russian green food market is all about making the right contacts. Whether you’re selling goods, or want to locate new suppliers, WorldFood Moscow lets you meet the right people at the right time.

The show attracts thousands of qualified visitors each year, alongside hundreds of domestic and international exhibitors – all looking to source new partners and products.

Interested in learning more about the event or want to taking part? Contact our team today.


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Tony Higginson

International Sales Director


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