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Russian veto of the US and Europe creates chances for Chile
Since the introduction of the Russian ban on food products from the United States and the European Union, chances have been created for the entry of new products or greater volumes of them from other origins. Chile is one of them, and it is taking advantage of this opportunity little by little, although the Trade Attaché of ProChile in Russia, José Campusano, said to SimFRUIT that "there is potential to go even further, and we are especially seeing this in 2017, as Chilean fresh fruit exports to Russia have so far increased by more than 200% compared to the same period of 2016."
According to ASOEX figures, during the 2015-2016 season, Chile exported 56,454 tonnes to Russia, mostly red apples, with 24.1% of the total, kiwis (22.8%) and table grapes (21.1%).
In a conversation with SimFRUIT in the context of ENEXPRO 2017, the Chilean Trade Attaché in Russia pointed out that "after the Russian ban on the entry of products from the United States and the European Union, Latin America, and Chile in particular, have gained a lot of ground. In fact, Chilean products and their quality are widely recognised in Russia. Our fruit has a great reputation."
Although Campusano highlighted the increase in fruit exports so far in 2017, he also pointed out that due to the counterfeit labels detected by Russia, having electronic certifications has become essential.
In this regard, he said that "we are making great progress in the area of electronic certifications, which have already become a reality in the meat sector, but whose arrival is still pending for other important products, such as fish and fruits. This is a fundamental issue, as there are currently large volumes of products denied entry because they are suspected to come from a country of the Union European. For example, many Polish apples were introduced as Chilean (an issue that has already been addressed), and today there are a lot of apples from Benin, an African country that is not particularly known for the production of this fruit.
The professional noted that Chile is Russia's main supplier of frozen mussels, salmon and frozen trout, dehydrated plums, as well as nuts, raisins, table grapes, blueberries, wine, pork and other products that have gained recognition in the market.
The Russian consumer
Russia has a population of 144,096,870 people, with more than 74% of them in cities. 46.4% of them are men and the other 53.5% are women, with the average age being 37.
According to a study by Nielsen, the Russian consumer usually buys products impulsively. Also, people with modest incomes perceive brands and product quality, as well as the product's shelf life, as very important factors. Russians usually see prices as secondary, although they are also attracted by special offers.
As for the testing of new products, the study showed that more than three-quarters of Russians consider themselves interested in trying new products. 38% reported to notice new products when placed on the shelves, which is higher than the overall average of 29%. However, it is also important to note that Russian consumers are very loyal to their brands. For example, Nielsen reported that Russians often know what they are going to buy before entering a mall.
Also, Nielsen reports that Russians only buy for short-term needs. 25% of consumer purchases are made to meet an immediate need, while 47% of purchased items were consumed that same day.
In late May, the Chilean Embassy in Russia, together with the Trade Office of ProChile in that country, toured three cities in order to promote Chilean exports and generate new business opportunities.
Activities were carried out in the cities of Kostroma, Vladimir and Moscow, where the Chilean authorities met with companies and authorities from each of the cities. The activities ended in each case with a dinner to promote various culinary preparations featuring the best export products that Chile has to offer, including fruits, fish, olive oil and nuts.
"These promotional events, which we have been doing since last year in Russia, have allowed us to promote our country and improve the knowledge about Chile in Russia, and we have seen how our products have increased their share in the market. In 2016, the value of our exports reached US$ 513 million, with the most noteworthy shipments being those of seafood and wine, which grew by 9% and 6% respectively over 2015," explained Campusano.
"In the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same quarter of 2016, we have seen a significant increase in the export of several items to Russia. Some of the the most notable increases have been recorded by pork meat, with 40.7%; fresh fruits, with 284.53%; agro-industry products, with 28.12%, and packed wines, with 38.92%.
Lastly, the Chilean representative emphasised that they are working hand in hand with the ASOEX, both for the search of new opportunities, as well as for promotional actions; however, he added that a lot can still be done when it comes to activities at the points of sale. "I think that boosting promotions at consumer level, via supermarkets, is a good way to improve the knowledge of Chile as the supplier of the fruit they consume, but also to increase consumption itself. We could maybe organise activities, such as Chile Days, in some supermarkets, as competition is getting tougher," concluded Campusano.
Publication date: 6/19/2017
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