Russian ingredient prices rise

Prices for a number of key food ingredients in Russia have risen in
January and February, according to a recent survey, and supply
difficulties are expected to keep costs high for the foreseeable
future, reports Angela Drujinina.

The latest review of ingredient prices by Vremea & Co, wholesalers of natural food ingredients, shows that ascorbic acid - widely used as a vitamin supplement in foods and beverages - is one of the very few products to have registered a decline in prices, both in Russia and the rest of the world.

Vremea said that prices for citric acid in Russia had remained stable at around $1.4-1.95 per kilo, although there was "an upwards trend due to an increase in freight costs"​. The company also warned that the price would likely increase in the spring due to the seasonal increase in demand. The ingredient is widely used as an acidulant in soft drinks.

Prices for other ingredients - guar gum, sorbic acid and sodium erythorbate - will increase, according to Vremea.

Guar gum, a thickener and stabiliser used in ice cream, baked goods and beverages, has become more expensive because of a poor guar harvest in India, bad crops of guara tree, which grows in India. The cost is now around $1.9-2.00 per kilo.

Sorbic acid - a preservative used in cheese, jelly, beverages and syrups - has increased in price as a result of higher fuel costs in China, one of the world's main suppliers, Vremea's report said.

An accident at a Chinese plant producing acetyl acid (a major component of sorbic acid) led to a shortfall in supplies and contributed to the price increase to $4-5 per kilo.

China has also recently become the biggest supplier of sodium erythorbate, an antioxidant used in meat and poultry processing and for beverage production.

However, the Chinese government has introduced a strict production quota system because of concerns about the environmental impact. This in turn has led to a shortfall in supplies and a rise in prices.

"According to our information, this ingredient is supplied only by two or three companies, and the price is not lower than $4.10 per kilo. Our specialists think that the price for erythorbate will only continue to increase,"​said Victoria Ivanova, marketing manager at Vremea.

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