"This is a new product for the Russian market, but our ice cream with iodine is not just another dessert product. It is a nutritious product that has curative properties and is formulated to balance the amount of iodine in human body," said Natalia Grinina, head of sales at MiasoMolTorg JSC.
Iodine is needed by the body to make thyroid hormones, which in turn are necessary for maintaining normal metabolism in all cells of the body; iodine deficiency can cause serious mental and learning difficulties. The substance is found naturally in a wide range of foods, in particular seafood, and iodized salt, the most common way of supplementing the diet, is also used as an ingredient in many processed food products. Iodine is also found naturally in many dairy products, making the ice cream a natural choice for added supplementation.
MiasoMolTorg JSC is using what it claims is a unique iodine food ingredient called Ioddar, produced by another Russian firm J-Elan, to create the new ice cream product, one of a number of new projects currently underway at the company.
Ivan Kondrashov, director general at the MiasoMolTorg JSC, told Cee-foodindustry.com that the takeover of the firm by the Atron group three years ago had led to a major change in the way it did business.
"Dmitry Malakhov, head of the Atron group, set us a new goal - to improve the quality of our products and to expand our range. As a result, we have modernised our production equipment, intensified the quality control at all stages of ice cream production, from milk purchasing to storing and transporting the finished product. Furthermore, all our raw material suppliers are companies based in the Ryazan district [south west of Moscow], and all the ingredients that we use in our ice cream are natural."
The company controls around 50 per cent of the ice cream market in Ryazan, selling more than 150 different brands there, but its products are known throughout Russia, Bielorussia and Kazakhstan. "Recently we started selling our products in Serbia," added Kondrashov.
MiasoMolTorg produced 2,500 tons of ice cream in 2000, and hopes to double that figure for 2004 despite increasingly competitive conditions in the market. "There are currently more than 300 enterprises in Russia that specialise in production of similar products," Kondrashov said.
But competition notwithstanding, MiasoMolTorg is planning to increase sales by 20 per cent in 2004 by adding new production equipment and launching more new products, including the iodine-rich ice cream. Other innovations include a yoghurt-ice cream blend, another first for the Russian market.