Dairy, bread and juice driving functional Russia

Related tags Chr hansen Milk Russia

Russia's dairy, bread and juice sectors are driving a raft of
novelty product innovations aimed at inspiring Russia's functional
food sector, offering opportunities for companies looking for more
value-added products, reports Angela Drujinina.

The Russian dairy sector is considered to be the most innovative within the country's food industry, and recent research showed that dairy was the main sector in which the majority of Russians understood the idea of functional foods.

A number of firms have already tapped this trend. For example, the Lebedeanskii dairy company has begun producing bio-ice cream with orange punch and cereals under its Belaya Corova trademark.

And a recent promotional tour by Danish natural ingredients firm Chr Hansen looked to capitalise on this trend with an array of new product ideas.

Maike Lisberg, Chr. Hansen's development manager, offered a kefir product that was specially adapted for the Russian market; using lactate products and yeast instead of traditional funguses. It tastes like usual kefir but also contains fruit aromatisers.

The firm also displayed a variety of value-added product prototypes, such as sintered cheese with cheddar flavor, a liquid drink yoghurt based on 30 per cent whey, a yoghurt desert with chocolate bits and mint flavour as well as a soft cheese with Roquefort cheese flavour and Italian herbs.

Chr Hansen claimed all the products had a shelf-life of around two weeks, a significant improvement for kefir, which usually only lasts around five days.

Ole Lindhart, Chr Hansen spokesperson, said the company's product presentations in the Russian market reflected the growth potential of the country's dairy sector. "We don't impose our ready products, because we understand very well that each country has its own food passions,"​ he said.

Functional and other value-added products have been relatively slow to catch on in other sectors of the Russian food industry, though promising progress is now being made in both bakery and juice sectors.

A Spokesperson for the Bosko-L bread firm, which has salt-less and low calorie bread in its portfolio, said: "According to last month's totals, sales of bread with extra additives made up 13 per cent of our total sales volume."

Some analysts also see juice as the rising star of functional and value-added products, through its connection with the dairy sector.

Andrey Vasiliev, general director of Fortis advertising agency, said complex, innovative products have the best potential on the enriched products market and that "milk products, which contain juices have the best potential.

"According to analysts' predictions, this sector may increase in size by 200 per cent in the near future,"​ he said.

Milk drinks with juice content are manufactured by a variety of firms, including WBD, Parmalat and Lebedeanskii. Dmitrii Fadeev, vice-director of Lebedeanskii company, said functionality now played a big part in its Frustayle juice drink.

"In the beginning it was conceived as a drink with juice contents, but after that we had the idea to improve the formula by a vitamin complex and to get more positioning possibilities,"​ he said.

Analysts have highlighted other novelty opportunities in product ranges as diverse as vodka and fruit drops.

Vodka manufacturers use taste and aroma ingredients most of the time, but there is also enriched vodka, such as that made by Moscow firm Crystall where different minerals are added to the spirit.

In Fruit drops, Finnish firm Leaf's Mynthon Red Grape and Mynthon Cranberry brands now claim to contain one adults complete daily allowance of vitamin C.

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