Consultancy firm Market Advice believes that the Russian confectionery industry is in good shape. The agency has drawn up a detailed impression of the current state of the industry through an analysis of the history of cocoa imports to the country.
Russia currently imports between 50 and 70 thousand tonnes of cocoa a year, and Market Advice forecasts that this will increase between 10 and 15 per cent within the next decade. This represents a dramatic turnaround from the economic crises of the 1980s.
Market Advice believes that the history of cocoa bean imports in USSR can best be subdivided into two key stages.
The first stage, from the 1960s to the late 1970s, was characterised by growth and development of the Soviet confectionery industry. During this period many factories were completely re-equipped to increase their processing capacity.
The second stage, from the 1970s onwards, reflects the political and economic crises of the country as a whole. The confectionery industry, as with other sectors of the soviet economy, suffered from falling demand and a scarcity of commodities.
In the former USSR, cocoa beans were imported mainly from the Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Brazil. However, economic crises and a reduction in the number of plants in Brazil resulted in a significant decrease in the amount of cocoa imported from South America.
As a consequence, the number of countries exporting cocoa to the former USSR quickly diversified. By the beginning of the 1990s, the Soviet Union was importing 200,000 tonnes of cocoa from a total of 17 countries annually.
The import of cocoa beans began to stabilise in 1999, despite serious economic problems in all former Soviet republics. Market Advice believes that the confectionery industry in Russia today is now as stable as it ever has been.
At present, over 90 per cent of cocoa is imported from the Cote d'Ivoire. Just less than half of all imports belong to largest national chocolate manufacturer, 'Russia,' which is owned by Nestlé. The two largest Russian confectionery manufacturers - Krasny Octyabr and Babayevskoye - are far behind with a 12 to 16 per cent share of Russia's total cocoa import.