Dynamic trends of Russia's HoReCa seafood market

March 11, 2008 16:31

Russia's seafood market in HoReCa sector has remained one of the most dynamically developing markets with the exotic fish remaining popular and chilled fish displaying increasing sales volumes. Besides, since 2007 fish products have been included into national programs and the industry insiders have resumed discussions of the proposed federal law "On Aquaculture" which is to encourage market of domestically produced fish and increase its supplies at home, according to Menu.Ru.

According to Norge-Fish, through the recent three years seafood sales in the HoReCa sector have been growing by 20%. According to Fisheries Company, the average annual growth rates in the recent years have been estimated at no less than 35% and in some of the HoReCa segments the growth rates have been even higher. Alexey Matsnev, General Director of Food DeLuxe Company, thinks that every year sales volumes have been rising at least three times.

On the one hand, the sales growth has been connected with the general improvement of the nation's life standard. According to the experts, through 2007 Moscow residents have earned 10% more money and spent ca.48% of money for food purchases, commented Boris Shabanov, Sales Director of Lyodovo Group of Companies. Current fashion for healthy lifestyle, growing popularity of bio and eco products farmed without GMO also play an important role in increasing demand. Executive Director of Russian Fish Company Ms. Larisa Vasilieva says that the demand for chilled fish has considerably grown in the recent years thanks to greater awareness of the population in fish healthiness and safety. That is why RFC plans to expand its current range of chilled fish (including Atlantic salmon and trout) with cheap table fish species such as haddock, cod and saury.

Interest in exotic fish can be explained mostly by the fact that now Russians most often go to restaurants in order to try something unusual, that can neither be purchased in retail shops nor prepared at home. First, the trend is typical for fine dining class restaurants. According to Natalia Grebenschikova, head of marketing service of Filimonova and Yankel fish restaurant chain, restaurant guests have been ordering more mussels, crabs and lobsters. Since 2007 Moscow restaurants have started to offer black cod, which is a new species for the Russian market. Restaurateurs have been continuously expanding the range of dishes based on finfish, shellfish and mollusks. Alexey Malakhov, head of marketing director of Vostok-Zapad Group of Companies, says their sales managers notice growing popularity of exotic fish species such as monkfish, blue shark, porgy and black sabre. Interest in mahi-mahi, coral perch, parrot fish has been also highlighted by Ilia Romanchuk, head of HoReCa department of Fisheries Company. MARR RUSSIA Company reports a special interest in octopus, squid, mussels and sea scallops.

Boris Shabanov from Lyodovo Group says that exotic products are not always immediately adopted by the Russian market, but if the customer appreciates their taste, such products display a quick rise of sales. For instance, Angelina Dzhamalova, Director of Development of Interfish-M, says that three years ago her company offered albacore tuna in Russia, but had not success, and only in 2008 the market showed a demand for the product and Interfish-M included it into its range again.

A stable demand for sea bass, sea bream and flatfish species has been reported by all suppliers and fish restaurants. While earlier those species used to be offered only in fine dining class restaurants, now sea bass, sea bream and even black cod are regarded common positions in menus of foodservice outlets and not only in the nation's capital, but in the regions as well. Medium-class restaurants and cafes normally use interesting, but not expensive fish species, such as ocean perch fillets. According to Angelina Dzhamalova, division of the HoReCa market into premium-class and medium-class will become more distinct in the coming 1-2 years. As the nation's chains tend to make the final product cheaper and unified, the share of easy-to-cook convenience products (such as tempura shrimps ready for cooking) will be growing, Dzhamalova says.

New products

New products recently introduced into the HoReCa sector can be divided into two groups of new exotic fish species, including those fit for Japanese cuisine, and new, most convenient for cooking types of dressing and packing.

The first group includes Japanese yellowfin tuna fillets from Norge Fish Company. Launched in Russia in 2007 the product is deepfrozen to -60 degrees C thus enabling it to keep the quality of fresh fish, including its natural colour. Interfish-M Company has introduced albacore tuna and stripped marlin. So far restaurant chefs have been showing a greater interest in white tuna just like in the USA, though stripped marlin is regarded one of the best swordfish species fit for sushi and sashimi. The range of Fisheries Company has been enriched with live oysters, mussels, clams, shrimps, lobsters and octopus. The new products launched by S&F Product in 2007 include skate wings, carabineros large red prawns, monkfish tails, octopus mascardini and baby squid. In 2008 Lydovo Group introduces a line of cooked-and-frozen crayfish from Spain. Besides, the group is going to launch white shrimp imported from Yemen. White shrimp is not thermally treated in the factory, therefore it is especially recommended for grilling.

The second group includes new types of product dressing and packing. Now producers tend to dress fish directly after catching and sell ready fillets and steaks in order to avoid double freezing and make kitchen preparations easier. More specifically, in 2008 Food DeLuxe imported Chilean sea bass and swordfish fillets, the latter product being made in Chile directly after harvesting thus enabling restaurant chefs to cook it without further loss of quality. Emborg has started supplying Atlantic salmon portions to customer's order. As of 2008 Russian Fish Company has introduced steaks and fillets of tilapia, pangasius, king catfish, pink salmon, whale, Atlantic cod and haddock.

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