Dairy Starters – Hope for Phase-out of Imports

Dairy Starters – Hope for Phase-out of Imports

Photo: http://LentaChel.ru

Russian dairy companies have expressed concern about the possible disruption of supplies of foreign sourdough, which account for 80% of the domestic market.

For example, due to Western sanctions, Denmark, Bulgaria, Italy and some other foreign partners have already refused to work with our organizations, which is what Sergey Lisovsky, a member of the State Duma Committee on Agricultural Issues, informed Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev in his letter.

Until the early 1990s, Russia was fully self-sufficient in various sourdough products and ingredients, but then the situation began to change drastically. The massive emergence of foreign companies on the Russian market was the reason for such changes and, as a consequence, new foreign products. The fact that Western brands were characterized by long shelf life was extremely unexpected, so largely for this reason importers managed to capture almost all sales channels.

At the same time, our Western “partners” began to bring their sourdough to us as well. They supplied this ingredient in dry form. It turned out to be very convenient to work with products of this kind, so the majority of Russian dairy companies began to use this particular sourdough.

Currently, dairy producers have already formed a certain stock of imported ingredients with the expectation that they should be sufficient for at least six months. So, there is no deficit on the Russian market, and, nevertheless, given the current foreign policy situation, the issue of import substitution has become very urgent. Yes, Russia can provide itself with kefir starter, but in the case of other dairy products, such as processed cheese, there may not be enough melting salts and starch for it, because there is a serious dependence on imports.

Such circumstances can lead to serious problems, because along with the supply bans there are difficulties with logistics, plus a rise in prices due to changes in currency exchange rates.

“Of course, we will be able to find alternative solutions to the problems that arise,” Ivan Fedyakov, INFOLine CEO, told wek.ru, “including for many items we will set up production of the required components. However, it will not be instantaneous, and it is a matter of months, not weeks. It is clear that the demand for products is quite variable, and if the customer cannot find the product he needs in the store, he simply switches to another one.”

Due to the current uncertainty at the dairy products market, including the large-scale change of suppliers, the industry leaders had to turn to the state for the support of domestic companies. After all, a sufficient amount of time may pass until the transition to Russian equipment, readjustment of technological processes, etc. takes place, especially since there are not enough capacities of our plants that produce the basis for sour-milk products now.

According to Fedyakov, we lived in conditions of “global cooperation” with the entire world, and, to our great regret, no one prepared for such a situation to isolate Russia. He underlined that “such failures” in food production can occur in the most unexpected places.

“There are enough examples when one or two, in fact, elementary ingredients do not allow the final product to be produced,” Fedyakov said.

However, the Ministry of Agriculture said the day before that it has sufficient reserves of raw materials and will continue to supply them. Moreover, there is an active search for alternative suppliers, and measures have already been developed to stimulate domestic production and the construction of new logistics routes.

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