Opportunities for Cheese Exports to Russia

EU - Russia is a prime destination for European cheese, absorbing almost one third of total EU exports according to International Dairy Magazine. Euromonitor International earlier this year reported that the market recorded growth of 15 per cent over the last year. The cheese category is expected to grow by six per cent annually up to 2016 to reach a value of RUB293 billion.
calendar icon 10 April 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

At the Dairy NPD Conference earlier this year in Amsterdam, Valio Russia echoed this growth opportunity. Russia has a population of approximately 142m consumers with the main concentration in St Petersburg and Moscow. Dairy consumption continues to grow, albeit remaining under developed by international standards at 4.2kg per capita.

This compares to 19kg in Finland and 14kg in France. This indicates significant growth potential. Fresh dairy produce represents 30 per cent of the dairy market followed by yellow cheese at 27 per cent, butter 23 per cent and processed cheese 20 per cent.

In terms of cheese, Euromonitor International reports that packaged hard cheese saw the fastest growth in 2010/11, both in volume and current value terms. Improved distribution for packaged hard cheese through the collaboration of manufacturers with leading chained retailers, in addition to the development of modern retail formats was one of the main reasons for growth.

Cheese opportunities identified at the Dairy NPD Conference for the Russian market include:

  • Yellow cheese: Valio reported growth of 30 per cent in 2011.
  • Natural: imported product is perceived to be of high quality.
  • Premium: this is a growing market segment for branded product.

The market does have its constraints and challenges e.g. differing consumption patterns across the market, logistical difficulties accessing such a large territory, etc. In 2011, dairy exports to Russia from Ireland were valued at just over €2m with cheddar accounting for a quarter of the total.

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