Review of Russian imports of marinated seafood preserves in 2004 - 2007

February 3, 2009 16:44

General tendencies

The Russian market of marinated seafood preserves haв been developing rapidly in the last few years. Apart from a minor portion of imported product the demand was entirely satisfied by the Russian producers using imported raw materials. Traditionally, herring was the most popular species among consumers. A wide range of marinated herring preserves was processed mainly from the herring imported from Norway and other countries, while finished herring products were practically not imported. As for imported marinated preserves, they included Baltic sprat spiced-salted in buckets or exotic and expensive items not produced by the Russian processors such as for example, marinated anchovy, mussels, lobsters, crayfish, reports (

The imported preserved products had a small share in the total volume on the market because of its saturation with the domestic products.

Supplies from Russia's ally Belarus to Russia are not covered in the review although Belarus is a foreign country and Russia has been importing large volume of preserved seafood products mainly from the processing plants of Santa Bremor JV. The thing is that this product flow is not recorded in the Customs statistics, because under the Union Agreement the products originating from the processing plants located on the territory of Belarus shall not be subject to customs clearance but shall be subject to VAT instead.

In 2004 - 2007 the Russian import of marinated seafood showed mixed dynamics. The import volume increased more than 15% from 6,082 tonnes in 2004 to 7,011 tonnes in 2005. The same increase of 15% can be observed in the import value from USD2.8 million in 2004 to USD3.2 million in 2005.

Since 2005 the market of preserved seafood dropped to 4,602 tonnes (USD2.7 million) in 2006, down 34% in volume and 17% in value in comparison with 7,011 tonnes and USD3.2 million in the year 2005. In 2007 the import nosedived by another 49% in volume and 26% in value in comparison with 2006.

Import dynamics in 2004 - 2005

In 2005 the import of marinated seafood products amounted to 7, 011 tonnes totally worth USD 3.2 million. The import volume and value exceeded 15% rise in comparison with 6,082 tonnes and USD2.8 million in 2004.

In 2005 the import increase was contributed by the growing supplies of Baltic sprat spiced-salted which had 95% share of total supply, namely 6,663tonnes.

The import of Baltic sprat into Russia in 2005 increased by 20% in comparison with 5519 tonnes in 2004. In 2005 this product category was supplied from Estonia (5,995 tonnes), Latvia (649 tonnes) and EU (19 tonnes).

The second largest market share of imported products was held by marinated herring preserves amounting to 232 tonnes in 2005, down 25% from 309 tonnes in 2004. Mainly, this product category was supplied from Sweden (161 tonnes) and Lithuania (71 tonnes).

Preserved salmon products took the third position on the import market, mainly imported from the Ukraine (19 tonnes) and Lithuania (2 tonnes).


Import volume of preserved seafood products in 2006 amounted to 4,602 tonnes at a total value of USD2.7 million, down 34% in volume and 16% in value in comparison with 7,011 tonnes and USD 3.2 million in 2005. The average price increased by 28% to USD 0.58 per kilo.

In 2006 Estonia, Sweden and Italy became the top 3 suppliers of marinated fish products to Russia with 4,241 tonnes, 280 tonnes and 39 tonnes correspondingly.

In 2006 the main imported product category was the Baltic sprat spiced-salted 100% of which was imported from Estonia. However, the volume of imported Baltic sprat decreased by 36% from 2005.

The second largest category was the marinated herring imported from Sweden. The import volume of marinated herring grew by 6% to 245 tonnes.

Marinated mussels ranked as the third category in 2006, this product was mainly supplied from Sweden and Thailand. Import volume of this category in 2006 skyrocketed by 314% to 62 tonnes, up from 2005 year level.


In 2007 the import volume of marinated seafood products continued to decrease. More specifically, the import volume amounted to 2,374 tonnes, down 48% in comparison with 4,602 tonnes in 2006. The import value decreased by 25%, from USD6.7 million in 2006 to USD2 million in 2007. The average import price increased by 45% to USD0.84.

The largest exporters to the Russian Federation were again Estonia, Sweden and Italy.

The most imported category was the Baltic sprat. It was all supplied by Estonia as in 2006. The import of Baltic sprat spiced-salted dropped by 51% in volume and by 44% in value to 2,064 tonnes and USD942,000 correspondingly.

The second largest imported product category was marinated herring although the import volume of the product decreased by 20% to 197 tonnes. The marinated herring was mainly supplied from Sweden and the small quantity from Germany and Azerbaijan.

The third largest product category was again marinated mussels, the import volume increased by 7% to 66 tonnes. The products were imported from Sweden.


In 2004-2007 the marinated seafood preserves were not the key category of the Russian import of seafood products. In fact, this market segment has been toughly occupied by the Russian producers, that imported raw materials for production inside the country. The import of the Estonian Baltic sprat spiced-salted packed in buckets of 12 kg each was intended for further repacking in smaller sized retail packs and/or retail sale distribution in bulk.

The imported marinated seafood market consists mainly of the products not processed by the Russian producers, namely of marinated mussels, anchovy, crayfish and lobsters. Such products do not practically compete with the products of Russian origin, they have their own market niche and extend the assortment on the shelves. Except for the Estonian Baltic sprat the share of the remaining marinated products on the Russian market is insignificant vs. a good supply of the domestic products on the market.

Taking into account the 2006 - 2007 statistics which reveal a gradual decrease of import of marinated products, the import volume is not likely to rise sharply, especially in the situation of the world financial crisis, devaluation of the Rouble when the imported products become more expensive and the consumer decreases consumption of expensive products. One can presume, in such conditions the structure of import will change to increase the share of cheap products and reduce the import of more expensive ones.

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