Step № 5 – “Assess potential obstacles”

“Your first 50 right steps to enter the Russian food market”.

Step № 5 – “Assess potential obstacles”

Without a doubt, this is a very important step. Some obstacles may prevent you from supplying your food products to the Russian market; others can greatly complicate or slow down the sale of your food products in Russia.
Food under embargo or ban.
The very first thing you need to do is to check if your food products are not on the list of food prohibited for import into Russia. For example, several times I have been approached by companies from China that wanted to supply their ingredients for the food industry in Russia. Ehen I checked this list, it turned out that such additives are completely banned for use in the food industry throughout Russia.
So, it was clear that even if they bring their goods to Russia, nobody will buy them.Therefore, you also need to check all the ingredients of your food products to ensure that there are no ingredients prohibited for use on the territory of Russia. The list of such ingredients and additives varies periodically, but it is available on the Russian Internet. You will find it without difficulty. You can see a part of this list in step # 21, the link will be under this post. Since 2014, Russia has been imposing an embargo on the import of many food products from different countries. Therefore, you need to check on the Internet if your products are banned or not.

There is also a link to the website of Rosselkhoznadzor, the Russian state organization which regulates import/export of food products to/from Russia. This is a link to the page where you can choose your country and see which products you can import.

For example, a company from Sri Lanka got in touch with me to discuss how to supply baramundi farm fish to the Russian food market. I checked on this website and it turned out that only wild baramundi fish from Sri Lanka is allowed, farm fish is prohibited. If this company had not consulted me in advance and had begun to enter the Russian market independently, they would have got very embarrassed. They would have found partners and buyers in Russia, agreed with them, signed a contract, but would not have been able to fulfill their obligations. So, their reputation in Russia would have been damaged.

Traps that hinder sales.
The following obstacles may decline sales of your food products in Russia or greatly reduce the effectiveness of your business in Russia.

1. Check the name of your food products in terms of the way it sounds in the Russian language. Perhaps your name is associated with something bad or forbidden. Of course, this can alienate your future buyers even if you have already spent your money on promotion and marketing of your products. This money will be wasted since it is recommended to create a different name for the Russian market and work with it further.

2. Study the history of supplying to Russia food products similar to yours from other countries. Food products similar to yours might have already been sold in Russia and there was no success. Serious buyers will definitely know about these facts and will keep them in their memories. For example, in my experience, it was Polish alcohol called “Royal”, which was imported to Russia in the late 90s. It was of such poor quality that a lot of people in Russia got food poisoning or even died after consuming it. Therefore, now it is better not to supply any alcoholic product with such a name to Russia.

3. Perhaps the market segment which you are targeting with your food products has a fierce competition in Russia and you simply cannot earn as much as you plan. The best example is Indian tea. There are just dozens and hundreds of brands in Russia. Every year new ones appear, but Russians still buy 3-5 types of tea they are used to and have known for a long time. Research your future market in Russia in advance and weigh all the pros and cons.

4. If you plan to open your own food production facility in Russia, you should study the social situation in the region in advance. Perhaps there is a high crime rate which will not let you conduct business easily or there is lack of good and high-quality workforce. Corruption can be another issue, you will not be able to operate your business honestly. If you ignore these potential obstacles at the beginning, in the end you will simply be forced to either close your business or sell it very cheaply.

To sum up, I can say there can be a lot of possible obstacles and they all can be very different. To deal with them , you need to study all possible information on the Russian Internet. In the 21st century, this is not a problem. You can also hire a private adviser in Russia specializing on your food market segment who will collect all this necessary information for you.

If you are involved in food industry, I do not recommend contacting general marketing and consulting agencies in Russia. These agencies deal with all industries, but you need an expert in the food industry. More than once I have already been approached by people from different countries who had ordered services from such general marketing agencies in Russia to enter the Russian market. Unfortunately, these people do not work with the Russian food market yet. The information collected by those agencies was not relevant and useless. Those companies understood everything except food, but the money had already been spent and could not be returned.

Yours faithfully,

Alexander Sinyanskiy

Business Adviser in the Russian Food Industry  

Please read the same my other steps:

Step № 2 – “Look at you products and website by the eyes of a Russian”

Step № 3 – “Do not offer commission!”

Step № 4 – “Learn and research about your future competitors”

Step № 6 – “The most critical MUST-DO: localize and translate your food business into the Russian language”

Step № 9 – “Do everything only according to the law”

Step № 10 – “Corruption and crime”

Step № 12 – “We are looking for a food distributor in Russia! Just one exclusive distributor!”

Step № 19 – “Always collect all the information about your Russian partners”

Step№ 21 – “GMO food, organic food and food additives”

Step № 24 – “Who are your potential clients in Russia?

Step № 26 – “Russian social networks”

Step № 32 – “Opening a Russian legal entity (LLC and JSC)”

Step № 33 – “Open a joint venture or buy a stake in a Russian business”

Step № 34 – “Opening a branch or a representative office of your company in Russia”

Step № 41 – “Are you thinking of selling your food franchise to Russia? Good idea!”

Step № 46 – “How to find a distributor or buyer for FREE in the food market of Russia”

Step № 47 – “Holidays and days off in Russia. What for? Of course for business”

Step № 48 – “E-commerce in Russia”

Step № 49 – “Start your food business in Russia remotely and manage all processes without problems”

Lack of customization for the Russian food market, on the example of a bread machine of a very famous global company.

You often ask me why I do not use Whatsapp? I answer!

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