Russian market of fresh produce
The Russian market of fresh fruit and vegetables is a developing market with high growth potential. The proportion of fruit and vegetables in the average Russian food basket has been growing steadily, and according to market analysts, this trend will continue over the next years.
The growth forecast can be explained by a number of reasons; above all, by the rising purchasing power of the population, and by changing food habits and increased cultural awareness.
Healthy life-styles have become more popular in Russia; many Russians have made it their choice to follow healthy diets, which always include fresh fruit and vegetables – low in calories, rich in vitamins and microelements and containing plant tissue needed for digestion. The last years have seen a considerable growth in the consumption of freshly squeezed fruit, berry, and vegetable juices.
The Russian diet has also been influenced by a flourishing interest in the cultures of other nations, and in particular, in national cuisines. Especially popular are the cuisines of Mediterranean and Asian countries, which are rich in vegetables.
In addition, the Russians, most notably those living in the northern regions, are traditionally interested in tropical and exotic fruits. For example, the word “pomelo”, though virtually unknown in Russia three years a, is today a household word, and the fruit has gained its own devoted admirers. Mans, kiwis and avocados are not considered curiosities any more, and no family-gathering meal is served without a rich choice of fruit and vegetables.
The total volume of the Russian market of fresh fruit amounts to 6 billion USD, which is twice as much as the cellular communications market and is comparable to the beer market. Fruit account for 13% of the total expenses of the Russian household on the food products bought for at-home consumption; the same proportion of income is spent on vegetables. However, in comparison with the EU countries and the US, where the consumption of fresh produce per capita is much higher, the Russian market today is far from saturated.
The greater part of the fruit consumed in Russia is imported. In 2006 the fruit imports totalled 3.3 mln tons, with 90% of this volume shipped by sea to St. Petersburg.
Fruit are imported mainly from Ecuador, Argentina, Morocco, Egypt, Spain, France, Italy, and South Africa. Of the total volume, 37% is brought from South African countries, 29% from Ecuador, 27% from Morocco, Egypt, and European countries collectively, and 7% from South Africa.
According to food experts, the most popular fruit in Russia is the apple, which accounts for approximately 35-40% of the entire consumption volume. In second place are bananas and citrus fruits, with a 15%- and a 13%-share accordingly. Pears account for 8%, and grapes, for 6%.
The vegetable market capacity in Russia reaches 30 mln tons. The leader is the potato, with 40% of the total vegetable market. Among other vegetables especially popular are white cabbages (26% in the total consumption of fresh vegetables), carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and beetroots.
Of the total consumption of potatoes, 94% falls on dome.