Russian herring products to win market share from imported analogues

February 27, 2023 17:19

Herring is one of Russia’s most popular fish species enjoying steady and strong demand. Experts of the Russian Agricultural Bank studied herring production and consumption in Russia, as well as its export potential on the world market.

Herring is a leader in seafood consumption among residents of the Russian Federation. The most common species in Russian stores is Pacific and Atlantic herring. Every year these herring species makes the heart of the most popular festive dishes both on the New Year and other holiday table of Russians – salad “herring under the beet coat”.

The famous Olyutorskaya herring is valued for its fat content, delicate taste and firm flesh. But this is not a separate type of fish, but a stock of Pacific herring in one of the bays of Kamchatka — the Olyutorsky Bay. That is, it is a local herring population of the Bering Sea.

According to the Center for Industry Expertise of the Russian Agricultural Bank, 584 thousand tons of herring were produced by the end of 2022, which is 9.8% higher year-on-year. According to the Bank, the herring catch volume by 2025 may reach 610 thousand metric tons.


The frozen herring production in January-November 2022 amounted to 400 thousand tonnes, +10.8% YOY. In 2021, Russian enterprises produced 405 thousand tonnes of frozen herring, +4.2% on 2020. The leading federal District of the Russian Federation for the production of frozen herring is the Far Eastern Federal District (holding the share of 81.6% in the nation’s herring output from 2017 to 2021). The second place is taken by the North-Western Federal District (18.3%).


The herring consumption in Russia is estimated at 370-390 thousand tonnes of raw herring per year, which corresponds to 2.8-3 kg per capita per year (or 12% of seafood annual consumption). At the same time, 75% falls on herring caught by Russian fishermen.

According to the research company N-tech, due to the "urgent need" for the New Year salads, herring sales increase annually in December and decrease in the hot months in May, June and July. Sales in December account for 13% of the annual trade turnover, while other months average 7%.


In 2022, herring exports amounted to 241 thousand tons, +9.5% on 2021. The export value is also growing. The increase was 40% compared to the level of 2021. Korea, China and Nigeria were the top markets for the Russian herring in 2022. A year earlier, Japan was also in the lead (27.4 thousand tons).

The Bank’s experts predict that, while maintaining a stable catch and export structure (the share of friendly countries is now 55%), the volume of herring exports will grow by an average of 2-3%. Already now they are as high as before the covid period.


Russia’s herring import in 2022 amounted to 71 thousand tons, -25.5% year-on-year. The Faroe Islands still remain the leading foreign supplier of frozen herring in Russia.

"Comparing the consumption of herring with some other sources of animal protein, it can be noted that it is almost twice the consumption of such non-mass types of meat as lamb and goat meat (about 1.5 kg) and is at the level of turkey consumption (about 3 kg). The main advantages of this product are protein saturation, the content of a large amount of vitamin D, B-vitamins and trace elements – selenium, phosphorus, iodine and others. The quality and taste characteristics, as well as the traditions of Russian cuisine determine the popularity of herring, - says Andrey Dalnov, head of the Centre for Industry Expertise of the Russian Agricultural Bank. – The reorientation of the herring market to import substitution, according to our forecasts, by 2025 will lead to the complete displacement of imported herring with domestic products."

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