I & S INNOVATION & SUSTAINABILITY
24 July 2020

Oleg Harlanov, EFKO Group: «In Russia there are more followers of eco-friendly products than in Europe»

24 July 2020, Alexeevka, Russia – EFKO Group, one of the largest enterprises of Russian food industry, sums up the results of the regular series of educational webinars. Whithin online meetings with business partners of the company there were discussions on the main tendencies of milk product alternative market, their special aspects and positioning.

Milk product alternatives are popular all over the world. In the United Kingdom 23% of consumers prefer plant milk, in the USA this segment accounts for 14% of the all retail milk sales. According to Renub Research company, milk alternatives market by 2026 will exceed $35 bln.

Producers are actively experimenting with plant basis for such products – almond, soybean, coconut, rice as well as with addition of bananas, berries, vanilla and chocolate. There is a growing demand for coffee and desserts with plant substitute of cow’s milk that also changes structure of restaurant business: vegan analogues of traditional dishes are appearing – curd pancakes from tofu, cheesecakes based on coconut cream, cheeeses from nuts and a wide range of coffee drinks with addition of oatmeal, cedar and poppy.

«Today consumers appreciate not only taste of the food but also its benefits, eco-friendliness and ethical production, - tells Oleg Harlanov, director of the Fat&Oil Division, EFKO Group. – In 2019 79% of Russians noted that they were ready to pay more for eco-friendly products. This is 4% more than in Europe. Besides, vegan products sales are raising at a double- or triple-digit rate and year by year in Russia there are more and more followers of the plant-based diet while the nishe on the market is almost free».

Apart from plant milk, production of spreads is one of the most promising courses. According to The Good Food Institute, sales of vegetable oil spreads as well as plant sauces and sour cream in 2019 grew by 54%. At the same time, an anusually wide assortment is available to foreign consumers: salty spreads – with paprika, garlic and greens, mushrooms; and sweet ones – with berries, pumpkin, chocolate and caramel.

An important phase in spread production is selection of the plant alternative to milk fat. That is exactly what is going to become the base of the finished product, not only taste and quality of spread depend on this but also its benefits for human body. These key ingredients are milk fat substitutes – high-tech fats based on vegetable oil composition. For the first time they appeared on the national market in 2003 when EFKO Group launched «Ecolact» line. Unique technologies allowed to produce a high-tech product joining all benefits of vegetable oils. For over 15 years EFKO Group’s food ingredints have been in demand on the market and widely used in production of healthy plant-based food.

Opt for plant alternatives is based not only on health care. Preferring this category of products, consumers contribute to the protection of the environment and animals. It should be noted that in July there will be the first international vegan film festival dedicated to plant diet and animal protection. According to Veg World Magazine, the event is intended not only to acquaint viewers with advantages of plant-based diet but also throw light on the problems in animal breeding.

Although the idea of conscious consumption is still a novelty for Russia, the number of followers of eco-friendly vegan products is growing and will grow in the future even more.

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