TINE gives away tonnes of cheese rejected by Russia to food bank


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TINE gives away tonnes of cheese rejected by Russia to food bank

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Norwegian dairy giant TINE has given away around seven tonnes of Snøfrisk cream cheese, initially destined for export to Russia, to employees and a food bank in Oslo.

TINE, Norway’s largest dairy processor, confirmed earlier this week that a “big part”​ of a Snøfrisk cream cheese shipment rejected by Russia has been sent to Matsentralen food bank in the country’s capital Oslo.

Part of consignment which consisted of more than 56,000 125g tubs of Snøfrisk goat's milk cheese, was handed out to TINE employees, it said.

Matsentralen has since distributed the charity cheese to other voluntary organizations including the Blue Cross and the Salvation Army, said TINE.

TINE was left with 26 pallets each containing 216 10-unit cartons of Snøfrisk cream cheese in Russian packaging following the August 7 2014 introduction of a one-year ban on the import of beef, pork, fruit, vegetables, cheese, and milk from the European Union (EU), United States, Australia, Canada, and Norway, by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

“The pallets did not make it to Russia,”​ a TINE spokesperson told DairyReporter.com. “They were stopped before export.”

“Because the text on the packaging is in Russian it is impossible to sell it in other markets. The cheese is high quality, so it is senseless to throw it away, it is much better to give it away to people who need a helping hand.”

Export impact

Oslo-based TINE, which controls approximately 55% of the Norwegian dairy market, confirmed it has temporarily reduced its production of Snøfrisk as a result of the Russian sanction on Western food imports.

Demand does, however, still exists for the cream cheese brand - domestically and in export markets such as Germany.

The TINE spokesperson voiced hope, however, that the Russian embargo on Norwegian products "will only last for a short period."

"Snøfrisk is very popular in Russia," ​said the spokesperson. "So we are quite sure we will enter Russia again once the embargo is lifted. Hopefully in a short time."


Despite its losses, TINE insists it has not been dramatically impacted by the Russian embargo.

"Our exports to Russia are about 600 tonnes a year,"​ said the spokesperson. "Our total exports are about 12,000 tonnes, so exports to Russia are about 5% of our total exports."

"Our biggest export product to Russia is Jarlsberg cheese, especially the Jarlsberg wheel."

"The Jarlsberg packaging is more common, therefore it is easier to sell it in other markets."

While the company has "not calculated in detail"​ the impact of the Russian embargo on sales, the TINE spokesperson said losses related to cream and goat's milk were among the "highest costs."

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