Russians cut back on food products as EU ban continues

Import restrictions coupled with the devaluation of the ruble have made Russian imports more expensive, therefore eroding the purchasing power of consumers, according to Bord Bia.

Citing official figures from the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, Alla Barinova of Bord Bia’a Moscow Office says food prices in Russia during the first quarter of 2015 rose by over 12%, which is 11 times higher than food price increases in the EU (1.1%).

She says consumer prices for pork and chicken registered an initial jump, increasing by 27% during 2014.

According to Barinova, pigmeat is one of the products most affected by the restrictions.

She says the Russian Federation is expected to continue increasing its own production in line with the long-term trend, with government support policies favouring large-scale farms.

In terms of beef, Barinova says there has not been any major increase in beef imports by the Russian Federation so far, as these were already coming primarily from South America.

Overall, she says no notable increase in domestic meat production has been observed following the import restrictions.

In stark contrast over 50% of imported seafood came from restricted countries.

Barinova says as a result, fish and seafood prices have increased over the past four months by over 17% in Russia, whereas in the EU these prices increased by an average of 0.1 %.

According to Russian Public Opinion Research Centre, more than half of Russians (63%) admitted that for the last three months they had to review their habits connected with food purchasing, Barinova said.

In particular, she cites that they began to buy the products of lower cost brands (40%), stopped buying some products, or reduced the total amount of purchased products (30% of each product item).

In addition, Barinova says 13% of Russians started to visit food shops less frequently.

Russians have cut back on meat and poultry (29%), cheese and sausages (23%), fish and seafood (21%) as well as fruits (19%) and confectionery products (17%), she says.

In addition to this, Barinova says 8% of Russian consumers started to save more on all food products.