Russian market of canned fish and marinated preserves moving towards premium segment (part 3)
Shellfish and mollusks
Exotics and variety are reflected most of all in the segment of shellfish/mollusks/seaweed. In 2007 this segment developed very dynamically. The end of 2006 - the beginning of 2007 saw a great number of products in brine entering the market: squids, mussels and shrimps. Even the producers, who before had dealt with only frozen products, joined this business.
Today the market of non-finfish aquatic products, such as shellfish and mollusks, is still one of the dynamically growing among all food products. According to the President of Ledovo Group Nadezhda Kopytina, quoted by the magazine, this trend is determined by rising affordability of such products. On the one hand, the increased competition among producers has led to significant diversification. On the other hand, the growth of shellfish/mollusks market is connected with general improvement of the well-being of Russians. According to the experts' data, in 2007 the level of real incomes of Moscow residents increased by 10%, and 48% were spent on food including shellfish/mollusks.
Characterizing consumer audience of marinated fish preserves, it is worth noting their financial stability. This group consists of young men and women aged 25-40, who have already achieved certain success in the career and who have the possibility to indulge in their tastes. That's why marinated fish preserves distribution is oriented on the regions of high population density with higher than the average income and growth prospects such as Moscow, Saint Petersburg, their suburbs and large Russian cities with developing business and industry.
As a result, when introducing a new product line under sub-label Bon Appetit! on the Russian market in spring 2007, Ledovo Group focused on growing demand in large cities for high-quality marine delicatessens which can easily be used at home for cooking restaurant class dishes.
The new range under sub-label Bon Appetit! includes 19 products from three main categories: ready-to-eat marinated shellfish/mollusks for salads, ready-to-eat exotic shellfish-based salads in sauces and laminaria-based salads ready-to-eat. Besides traditional recipes such as "Shrimps in karri-orange sauce", "Mussels in tomato-spicy marinade", "Seafood cocktail in Swedish-style marinade", Ledovo Group in autumn 2007 added to its range black tiger prawns and white prawns. There are also warm water shrimps (TM Salmon) in the Group's range.
The leading PR-specialist of Meridian Company Sergey Kovalenko believes that the highest growth is noted in the sector of marinated shellfish/mollusks with oil. The main development of product range is observed due to introduction of new marinades and recipes. Recently Meridian Company has introduced on the market marinated shellfish/mollusks in brine. This product line includes squids, shrimps, mussels and seafood cocktails in brine, all packed in plastic jars 430g.
Marina Company has introduced on the market a wide range of shellfish/mollusks under MarinaR label in various marinades (squid in olive oil "Ellada", seafood cocktail in oil with spices "Mexicano" and so on) and sauces (squid and cocktails in milk sauce Béchamel and etc.)
According to the deputy director of Russian Sea Company Vitaliy Azhnin, quoted by the report, the Company positions its products as very useful and natural without GMO and with low vinegar content in shellfish/mollusks. For example, Mediterana-labeled seafood cocktails and squids are produced with lower vinegar content, mussels and shrimps are produced without vinegar at all.
As the President of Ledovo Group Nadezhda Kopytina supposes, very soon there will be changes in shellfish/mollusks distribution system. Firstly, regions are becoming a very promising market. Besides, while now the bulk of shellfish/mollusks is sold on the food markets and in supermarkets, in the future there will be specialized sales outlets where a consumer will have the possibility to buy not only chilled fresh products but also marinated seafood preserves.
Tuna is considered to be an exotic product on the Russian market but it is becoming very popular at present. According to Olga Tsios, brand manager of Mistral Trading Company, this fish is not a traditional product on the Russian market, while in America and in Europe it is the main consumed species. In 2006 the share of tuna in total import volume of canned products (200 000 tonnes) amounted to only 1.78%. Tuna is positioning in the high-end and the middle-end segments but in fact it is a premium product. Firstly, the tuna market is 100% import market. Secondly, as price-quality ratio of this product is adequate to premium class, the questions about price range choice are not arising. Since it is very difficult to find fresh tuna in Russian shops or it is very expensive and requires special cooking, consumers prefer to buy canned tuna and use it as an ingredient of various dishes. Tuna is one of a few species which don't loose useful properties when being canned. Tuna has a very low fat content that's why it is considered to be a dietary product. Canned tuna is produced from frozen fish, so blast freezing is another competitive advantage and tuna-labeled canned products of Mistral Trading Company are produced in this way. At present the range of Mistral Trading consists of two fish brands: Fortuna and John West. TM Fortuna includes tuna pieces in oil and own juice, chopped Skipjack in oil and own juice, yellow fin tuna fillets in own juice.