Russia is the biggest country in the world and has over a 140 million people. A large portion of the population is centered around a few major cities, like Moscow and St. Petersburg. “This,” says Dutchman Wim Zomer, “is exactly where the opportunities are for suppliers of fresh produce.”
Wim Zomer advises companies of fresh produce in setting up and expanding their business. He is convinced opportunities in Russia are there for the taking. “An economy on the rise and increasing wages make for a burgeoning middle class,” he says. “For the fresh produce industry, this is the most important market. The whole fresh market is still in its infancy here.” Even though he admits it can be next to impossible to supply the rural communities due to the distances, he still beliefs the population in and around the cities are an interesting target group.
The frozen food industry is mostly provided for, according to Zomer, but it’s primarily cabbage. To producers of fresh food, with a wide assortment, there is a lot to be accomplished in Russia.
One of the companies Zomer has accompanied in recent times is Fresh Servant in Finland, a family business that has become a forerunner in fresh tray salads. It is the creator of the retail packaged salad category and the first to make ready-to-eat salads available to consumers nationwide. “Initially, Fresh Servant only supplied the local markets, but now we are in the process of exporting to Russia,” says Zomer.
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