Market and Trade Data
Riding the Waves of the
Russian Fish Market
Svec and Marina Muran
also. . .
Russian market for fish and seafood products is booming.
Based on Russian customs data, imports in calendar 2006
reached $1.2 billion, up a remarkable 27 percent from
2005. This trend will likely continue in the near
Experts Plumb Factors Swelling Fish Market
Market analysts attribute
Russians’ swelling fish product consumption to the
Consumer disposable incomes, particularly in major
metropolitan areas, continue to rise. It is
estimated that income grew more than 20 percent in
2005, reaching an average monthly wage of $1,031 in
Moscow and $370 in other regions.
Consumer preferences are shifting toward healthy,
nutritious, and low-fat foods.
Consumers are concerned about the risk of avian
influenza from poultry products.
Other animal proteins tend to have higher prices.
Increased investment in new processing facilities is
leading to greater availability of products.
Marketing channels have improved.
Consumption has soared in Russia’s
ready-to-eat market segment, with sales of
shrimp, crabs, scallops, squid, and mussels,
averaging 30% annual growth.
variety of fish and seafood products in the Moscow and
St. Petersburg markets today is equivalent to European
Union markets. There is a full range of items found in
local markets, from low- or no-added value products
(whole frozen or headed and gutted fish) to value-added
selections (breaded fish, fish sticks, and surimi).
Market analysts indicate an annual increase of 17
percent in general consumption of fish and fish
Increasing demand for high-quality, more expensive
products has prompted retailers to launch new
premium-priced products, including imported fish.
Consumers are becoming accustomed to the regular flow of
novelties and are developing more upscale tastes.
U.S. exporters can compete in high-quality
fish and fish products, particularly in
upscale retail outlets, hotels, and
Consumption has soared in Russia’s ready-to-eat market
segment, with sales of shrimp, crabs, scallops, squid,
and mussels growing an average of 30 percent annually.
Fish and seafood delicatessen market volume is almost
4,000 metric tons annually, but is still far from
Position and the Competition
Given Russia’s limited domestic production, its reliance
on imports is expected to continue, or even increase, in
the near term.
Russia’s trade deficit in fish and fish products reached
$680 million, an increase of 38 percent over the
previous year. Norway remains the most important
supplier of fish and fish products to Russia, with 2006
sales of $437 million, followed by Vietnam and China
with sales of $106 million and $89 million,
respectively. Other countries – notably Mauritania,
Iceland, and Estonia – have registered double- or
triple-digit sales increases.
A Major Venue for U.S. Products
World Food Moscow, one of Russia’s largest
trade shows, gives companies the opportunity
to introduce their products to the food
processing industry. USDA has pavilions at
the show that feature U.S. fish and seafood,
meats and poultry, retail products, and
fruits and vegetables. U.S. companies
interested in exhibiting in the next World
Food Moscow, scheduled for Sept. 18-21,
2007, should contact the FAS Agricultural
Trade Office in Moscow, Russia. E-mail:
to Russian customs data, in 2006 imports of U.S. fish
and seafood continued to increase, although at a slower
pace of 4 percent over 2005, reaching $43.1 million.
Opportunities for U.S. fish product exports to Russia
will continue to grow. U.S. exporters can compete in
high-quality fish and fish products, particularly in
upscale retail outlets and in hotels and restaurants.
Demand in these sectors remains strong, and Russia's
domestic production and international catch cannot keep
up with growing demand, presenting significant export
opportunities for U.S. suppliers who can catch the tide.
Svec is the senior attaché and Marina Muran is an
agricultural assistant in the FAS Office of Agricultural
Affairs in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia. E-mail:
Catching a Wave
In the Russian Market
Dried, smoked, or salted, fin or shell,
liver or roe -- fish snacks are growing
steadily more popular in Russia and spawning
some opportunities for U.S. companies.
All kinds of salted snacks, including fish
and seafood snacks, are available in street
or other outdoor markets, hypermarkets, and
other retail outlets. However, the fact that
some fish products (e.g., ground or
noneviscerated) are cheaper than other
animal proteins is spurring production of
fish snacks. Products like fish snacks are
becoming more popular with the average
Russian customer, and include items such as
dried squid, dried squid rings, Caspian
roach, dried shrimp, and anchovies. Dried
and cured fish snacks are packaged in
plastic bags ranging from 20 to 80 grams.
Experts Assess Snack Market Growth Prospects
ACNielsen estimates the total snack segment
in Russia in 2006 at in 907,000 metric tons
worth $800 million. Some important market
players expect the salty snack segment to
have grown significantly in 2006, and that
this trend will continue for the near term.
For example, the marketing director of
Bridgetown Foods Co. expects the volume of
the Russian market for salty snacks grew by
8-10 percent in calendar 2006. The general
director of Siberian Bereg Co. has a similar
estimate of 10 percent.
According to the general director of Zolotoy
Terem Company, a well-known manufacturer of
fish snacks, the fish segment could be
reaching its ceiling because it has
developed along with the snack market in
general, expanding by 20-25 percent
However, the marketing and sales director of
Naturproduct Co. believes that although
there are some good prospects for snack
segment growth, the market is limited. He
feels that sales for all snack categories
increased by no more than 5 percent in 2006,
and the same growth rate is likely to
continue in the near future. He expects
market saturation by 2009-2010, with average
per capita annual consumption of salty
snacks of 3.5 kg (1 kilogram = 2.046