© P. Gaillard, Réussir Fruits et Légumes
The construction of an export-oriented wholesale distribution centre for storage and processing of agricultural products has begun in the city of Elektrostal, in the Moscow region of Russia. The announcement was made by the Minister of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region, Sergei Voskresensky.
“A large investment project for the construction of an export-oriented wholesale distribution centre for storage and processing of agricultural products is being implemented by the “Freshistoria” company. The volume of investments will amount to over 1.1 billion rubles. The total area of the centre will be about 20 thousand square meters. More than 180 new jobs will be created,” Voskresensky said.
The project involves the construction of cold storage units for strawberries, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, freezer units for storing frozen products such as fish and meat and warehouses for dry products, auxiliary and technical premises. The centre will provide services for sorting, processing and packaging of vegetables, berries and other products, their transportation outside the Russian Federation, internal and external logistics services.
“Work is now underway to complete the development of project documentation. Construction work will begin in the second quarter of this year. The planned completion date of the facility is the second quarter of 2022,” said Voskresensky.
The construction of the wholesale distribution centre will facilitate the promotion of Russian agricultural products to foreign markets.
Public domain (Source: Flickr)
Cultivated mushroom production in Russia has been growing steadily in recent years. Production increased by 80.2% to 86,300 tons in 2020. This is nine times higher than in 2016 (9,700 tons).
Preferential short-term and investment loans are the key state support measures for mushroom producers. According to Mikhail Glushkov, director of the National Union of Fruit and Vegetable Producers, production optimisation will enhance industry development.
Source: InfoLine analytic agency
The pandemic and connected crisis negatively influenced most formats of trade in Russia. Many FMCG stores were closed. Thus, the total number of hypermarkets decreased by 68 outlets in 2020; hypermarkets share makes up less than 20% now (among top-200 FMCG retailers).
At the same time, the results of the retailers developing online sales and delivery services were positive (the case of Metro C&C and Lenta), as well as of those who converted non-profit formats into rewarding ones. For example, X5 Retail Group and Magnit converted 25 hypermarkets each into supermarkets.
The chart below illustrates the closure of the largest retailers’ hypermarkets (stores number and trade area, thousand m2).
Photo: Z&Y Fruit Company
Israel remains the largest capsicum exporter to Russia. Last year, it supplied 48,300 tons. Moreover, the export value has grown up to 75,400 euro, comparing to 62,600 euro in 2016, in spite of a slight decrease of the volume (50,000 tons in 2016). For many years, Russia has remained by far the largest partner for Israel; thus, in terms of value, its share of global capsicum export has increased from 54% in 2016 to 72% in 2019.
China and Turkey are other large exporters of capsicum; and one more player appeared at Russian market whose presence is not to be ignored. “Iran has become one of the most significant competitor of Israel in the European part of Russia,” says Elnur Mehdiev, purchase manager of Z&Y Company (St. Petersburg). “Iranian growers have improved quality of their pepper; they more flexible and offer better price.” Besides, shipping from Israel is done through Black see, and the containers are often delayed due to weather condition; Iran, on the contrary, sends its produce by trucks thus making the delivery time faster and more predictable.
Z&Y, one of the largest Russian wholesale traders, has been importing fruit and vegetables since 1996. The company imports more than 200,000 of produce a year, cooperating with some 200 suppliers from all over the world. The company owns three cold stores in St. Petersburg and three cold stores at Moscow’s Foodcity wholesale market.
Russia remains the second largest importer of pears in the world, despite the decline for the second year in a row, according to USDA data. In 2019/2020, pear imports dropped by 25% in volume to 194,064 tons and 7% in value due to higher prices for imported pears, resulting in lower demand. After the 2014 ban restricting imports of fruit from the European Union, Russia began to import pears from Southern Hemisphere countries, which supplied pears from February to September. In 2019/2020, exports from Argentina and South Africa increased and accounted for two-thirds of the overall imports to the Russian Federation, while the supply from other origins declined significantly.
In 2020/2021, imports of pears are projected to increase slightly to 195,000 tons due to lower priced product from Argentina and Turkey. For the first two months of the 2020/2021 marketing year, imports were up by 20% compared to last year due.
Photo: Eurofresh Distribution
One of the world’s leading importers of table grapes, Russia’s 2020/2021 imports of table grapes are projected to decline slightly to 280,000 tons, due to the continuing decline in Russian consumers’ purchasing power, according to a report by the USDA. Nevertheless, in the June-August 2020 period, Russia imported 70,070 tons of table grapes worth $80.6 million, up 20% from the same period last year, which was a record. Supply from countries, such as Turkey, Uzbekistan, Egypt, which sell more affordable product, is going up. Even during the off-season, Russians continue to buy table grapes from the South Hemisphere for events and special occasions. Local production of table grapes covers only 7% of domestic demand and most are sold through the retail sector.
Russian budget retailer Mere, owned by the Svetofor Group, is to open stores across Spain this year. The firm claims that it will offer goods that are up to 20% cheaper than its rival supermarkets, with the range including everything from food and household goods to clothes and the latest gadgets.
Managing director of Mere in Spain, Andrey Murzov, said that the stores will be “spartan” and “no frills,”, but the savings on decor will allow really low prices.
“Everything is stocked on pallets or in boxes, in order to reduce overheads as much as possible and be able to offer very cheap products,” said Murzov. “This model of store is similar to what Lidl and Aldi used to do years ago. Our aim is to offer the best prices every day, thanks to a business concept that involves saving costs – rent, decoration and personnel.”
The retail giant has big plans, with more than 100 stores expected to be dotted around the country by 2025. This year, the first branch will open in May, expanding to 10 or 15 by the end of 2021. Although the exact locations of the supermarkets haven’t yet been finalised, they are expected to be launched in Andalucía, Valencia, Madrid, Murcia and Catalonia.
© Eurofresh Distribution
Blueberry consumption in Russia have been grown both in volume and in value. By 2020, it has increased by 82.8% since 2017 in terms of volume and has doubled in terms of value. The principal reasons are the expending healthy style life trend, the awareness of Russian consumers of the vigorous qualities of blueberry; the intensification of berries transforming industry and the swell of blueberry production globally and in Russia in particularly. Thus, there are some government programs supporting the farmers producing berries; new varieties with better marketing value are being selected, new storage technologies are being implemented, and blueberry becomes accessible.
Russia’s apple imports are set to increase in 2020/21 due to a drop in domestic production, according to a USDA report. Many commercial pear growers are replanting their orchards to apples to take advantage of the growing demand. Russia is the world’s largest apple importer in volume terms. In the 2019/2020 campaign, imports were down 5% y-o-y to 750,572 tons, but were up 15% in value. The three main suppliers of apples to Russia are Moldova (31%), Serbia (19.6%), and Azerbaijan (9.6%). In 2020/2021, Russian apple imports are forecast to increase by 8% due to the significant decline in domestic production. In the period from July to August 2020, imports were up by over 20%, and this trend is expected to continue in the off season, as local production is less available during the winter and spring season.
The largest Russian retailers and qualified analytics shared their experience regarding 2020 and forecasts for 2021 for the research of Prognosis Company published by Retail.ru service.
Numerous retailers had to alter their strategy in respect of e-commerce; some of them launched their own online stores, others did it in cooperation with the established platforms.
Delivery services experienced a boom, and all the players began to deliver food and non-food merchandise indiscriminately.
Safety, the essential issue during the beginning of the pandemic, remained vital. It also concerns private labels, making the quality of goods the chief requirement for them. Healthy food became one of the leaders of the consumers’ demand, and the retailers allocate special areas in their stores to point out the goods belonging to this segment.
It was an extremely difficult year for supermarkets, reveals the research. Overall, the frequency of purchases decreased, while the amount of an average receipt increased.
Despite the pandemic, leading Russian retailers continue the expansion further into the regions and the consolidation of the market.