Russian ban on Western food imports created 'a lot of opportunities': Obram


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Polish cheesemaking technology firm Obram at Anuga Foodtec in Cologne.
Polish cheesemaking technology firm Obram at Anuga Foodtec in Cologne.

Related tags Tetra pak European union

The Russian embargo on Western food imports has created "a lot of opportunities," says Tetra Pak's Polish cheesemaking technology business Obram.

Speaking with DairyReporter.com at Anuga Foodtec in Cologne this week, Maciej Raczynski, business development manager, Obram, said the Russian trade ban has "accelerated the process of taking decisions regarding investment."

"We have a lot of ongoing discussions with customers," ​he said.

Tetra Pak acquired Olsztyn-based Obram, which specialises in technology to produce fresh, cottage and semi-hard cheese, in February 2015.

It said then that Obram is "well situated"​ to take advantage of the opportunities created by the one-year Russian ban on the import of beef, pork, fruit, vegetables, milk and dairy products from the European Union (EU), United States, Australia, Canada, and Norway.

Cheese exports from the 28 EU Member States to Russia, which totaled around 250,000 tonnes in 2013, came to a halt as a result of the trade ban. Russia production of cheese is subsequently expected to increase.

"We've been observing for some time that Russia needs to increase cheese production capacities,"​ said Raczynski. "Right now, by introducing the embargo they have accelerated the process of taking decisions regarding investment."

"There are a lot of opportunities," ​he said. "In two or three months we will see a boom in the Russian market."

"They need to do it, they will do it, they just need to finalize some formalities with finance."

International expansion

Established in 1976, Obram is among the leading providers of cheesemaking technology in Poland, Belarus and Eastern Europe.

Despite the takeover, it will continue to operate as Obram.

Obram is a leading provider of cheesemaking technology in Poland, Belarus and Eastern Europe.

"For sure we will stay with the brand, with the addition of 'A Tetra Pak Company', and we are still able to serve customers directly," ​said Raczynski. "In Central and Eastern Europe we still remain the first contact to the customer."

But now, with access to Tetra Pak sales networks, Obram has the "possibility to operate in markets where we have low activity or no activity,"​ he said.

“Right now we are deciding which way to go, which regions to activate, and where Obram equipment will be best suited."

"In the next weeks we will really start to kick off and increase our activities in different parts of the world."

Portfolio overlap

At the same time, Obram is working to align itself with Tetra Pak.

"Of course, everything is in line and on time, but we have been in the Tetra Pak family for just seven or eight weeks right now so the integration plan has just started," ​said Raczynski.

"This is a process that will take a long time because Obram is quite a big company and there are a lot of fields that need to be aligned with Tetra Pak procedures."

Work is also underway to deal with any portfolio overlap, he added.

"Parts of our portfolios, like cheese vats, equipment for cottage cheese, are similar. The differences may be details but the features are exactly the same. The idea is to avoid any internal competition," ​said Raczynski.

"This is planned to be activated so the customer is not confused that some machines come from Obram and some from Tetra Pak. In the long-term, we will provide one portfolio and Obram equipment will be available from Tetra Pak."

Related topics Processing & Packaging Cheese

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